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When Someone Dies and How to Cope

1. Take care of yourself. When we grieve, taking care of ourselves feels like the last thing we want to do, but it is imperative to having the internal resources to grieve and to being able to help others who may be grieving the same loss. Things like eating, sleeping, and drinking water are necessities. Self-care is also, setting boundaries and limits, getting enough sunlight, a bath, praying, listening to music, exercising, and so on.

2. Learn how to ground yourself when processing grief becomes overwhelming.

3. Allow yourself to grieve the loss. Know that it is okay to feel guilty, angry, sad, anxious, numb, resentful, and so on. As long as we are not harming ourselves or someone else, the important thing is that we are feeling and allowing ourselves to process the loss.

4. Be aware of behaviors that help you to suppress the pain of the loss, such as drinking alcohol, blaming others, withdrawing, etc. Escaping painful thought and emotion can help us to cope in the short term, however, in the long term, we feel even worse and are left facing the very pain that we were trying to avoid in the first place.

5. Remember that grief is a process of remembering. Remember the person you are grieving. What memories do you have of him or her?

6. Process the loss and circumstances surrounding their death in a balanced way. Try to avoid thinking in absolutistic ways, such as thinking that the person was all good or that the person was all bad. Distorted thinking patterns can prolong your grief because it leaves part of the truth behind in your processing.

7. Accept that your path of grieving the loss is unique, it may look different from another person’s, and that is okay.

8. Recognize if the loss has triggered other unprocessed thoughts and emotions within you. Maybe it reminds you of another loss, maybe you are unhappy with how you are living your life. You'll want to process these thoughts and emotions too, when you are ready.

9. Stay connected to people who care about you. Balance connecting socially with time to reflect and refuel on your own.

10. Forgive. You may not see it now, but eventually you may want to let go of whatever anger and resentment you feel, towards others or even yourself, as a result of the loss and whatever it may have triggered within you.

11. Find meaning through the pain and ultimately adjust to life post loss.

12. Celebrate the life of the deceased.

13. Stay connected with your physician with how you are feeling.

14. Reach out to a qualified therapist to help you to process your grief. You may also consider joining a relevant support group for individuals experiencing a loss.

15. If in crisis, contact your local crisis line or call 911 for any emergencies.





Grief counselling and grief therapy: a handbook for the mental health practitioner

J. Worden - Routledge – 2009


Grief Recovery Handbook

J. James - Harper Perennial - 1998


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