Can you ever really get over grief

Getting over the death of a loved one

  • 1

    Tell yourself that grief is normal. Grief is very, very painful. However, it is necessary to work your way through this pain in order to heal and recover from a great loss.[1] Try to resist the temptation to shut yourself up, numb, or pretend the loved one hasn't died. Do not deny that something bad has happened to you and that you are suffering. Grief is healthy, it is not a sign of weakness.[2]

  • 2

    Expect to go through the five stages of grief.While everyone grieves differently, grieving people often share five stages of grief. This phase theory is not supported by all psychologists, although recent studies show that it is effective in capturing the experience of most people in grief.[3]Knowing these stages of grief will prepare you for the strong emotions that they evoke. Knowing the stages of grief in advance will not resolve your pain, but you may be better equipped to face the pain.
    • Note that you may not go through these stages in the usual order. Sometimes grieving people repeat steps, dwell on a step for a long time, experience several steps at once, or go through the phases in a completely different order. Sometimes the bereaved can get on with their lives very quickly without even going through the steps.[4] Remember that everyone grieves differently. But recognizing the periods of grief can still help you understand your experience.[5]
  • 3

    Prepare for denial or unbelief.Immediately after the death of a loved one, you may feel numb. You may also find it hard to believe that this loved one has really passed away.[6]These feelings are more common in people mourning the loss of someone who died suddenly.[7]Because of this disbelief, you may not even be able to cry or show a lot of emotion. This is not a sign that you don't care: in fact, it's a sign that you care very much. Denial can help you get through the early days of grief by planning a funeral, contacting other bereaved relatives, or sorting out financial matters.[8]Often times, the memorial service or the funeral helps to make death seem real.[9]
    • If you have been preparing for the death of your loved one for a long time, you may not experience denial or unbelief. For example, if the deceased went through a long, fatal illness, you may have processed the disbelief before they died.[10]
  • 4

    Be prepared to experience anger. After the reality of death hits you, you may feel anger. You could direct your anger on anything: yourself, your family, your friends, the people who have not suffered loss, the doctors, the funeral director, or even the loved one who has left.[11] Don't feel guilty about this anger. She is normal and healthy.

  • 5

    Be prepared to feel guilty. If you've just lost a loved one, you may fantasize about all the things you could have done to prevent death.[12] You may feel remorse and try to make deals to bring your loved one back again. If you think, "If only I had done something differently" or "I swear I'll be a better person if the loved one comes back," you are probably in this phase of grief. Just remember that the death of the loved one is not a karmic punishment for you: you did nothing to deserve this pain. Death can be random, sudden, and illogical.

  • 6

    Prepare for sadness and depression. This phase is perhaps the longest in the grieving process. It can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, insomnia, and crying fits. You may feel the need to isolate yourself while complaining and deal with your sadness.[13] Sadness and depression are perfectly normal, but if you find yourself engaging in behavior that is harmful to yourself or you are no longer functioning, you need to speak to a doctor or therapist.[14]

  • 7

    Learn to accept the death of the loved one. This is usually the final step in the grieving process, and it means that you have learned to live without this person. While you will always feel the loss, you can establish a "new normal" without the loved one being in the picture. Sometimes people feel guilty about resuming a normal life after the death of a loved one, believing that this is in some ways betrayal.[15] Remember, however, that the deceased would not have wanted you to be down forever. It is important that you live your life in a way that honors the memories and gifts that you received from that person during their lifetime.

  • 8

    Don't set yourself a deadline.Much of the grieving process can take a year. However, many years after the loss, grief can recur in sudden moments: on holidays, anniversaries, or even on a particularly sad day.[16]Remember, you cannot go through grief on a schedule. Everyone processes their grief differently and you could mourn your whole life.
    • While grief and sadness are somewhat normal for many years after a loss, these feelings shouldn't be keeping you from a normal life. If you are not functioning because of your grief - even years after a loss - you may want to consider grief counseling or therapy. These feelings of sadness could always be part of your life, but they shouldn't be the dominant force in your life.[17]
  • 9

    Reach out to other grievers for support. At many stages of grief, you are likely to feel isolated and alone. While much of the grief is dealt with on your own, you will likely find solace in the company of other mourners who miss people as much as you do. Share your painful emotions and also the happy memories of the missing person with your support network. They can understand your pain like no one else. Share your pain so you can all take a step forward.

  • 10

    Ask for help from people who are not grieving.Other grievers can share your pain. But people who don't grieve can help you get your life back on track. Don't hesitate to reach out to your network if you need help with childcare, household chores, or just a distraction.[18]
    • Don't be afraid to say exactly what you need. If you don't have anything to eat in the refrigerator, ask your friend to bring something. If you can't muster the energy to drive your kids to school, ask a neighbor to fill in. You will be surprised how many people support you.
    • Don't be ashamed of your grief. Maybe you cry suddenly and unexpectedly, tell the same stories over and over, or process your anger in front of others. Do not be ashamed of this behavior: it is normal and your loved ones will understand.[19]
  • 11

    Seek professional help.While most people grieve on their own and with the support of friends and families, 15 to 20% of those who grieve need additional support. If you feel isolated, away from friends and family, or find it difficult to function, you may need professional help.[20]Ask your doctor for a recommendation on a bereavement counselor, support group, or therapist who can help you deal with your grief.
    • If you are religious or spiritual, consider contacting a religious organization. Many spiritually experienced people have grief counseling experience and you can draw comfort from their wisdom.