Grief affects everyone in different ways, and every healing journey is therefore different. There is no set roadmap, as each of us had a different relationship with the person we lost. Remember there are 5 main stages that people tend to go through, but don’t worry if you don’t follow this exact journey. It is more important to understand the purpose of each stage and to see how far you are along your grief journey.
Grief can become so overwhelming, and at the beginning, it can be hard to know how you are meant to feel. The denial stage is all about coming to terms with the loss, and this can be incredibly difficult. People in denial will often avoid the topic entirely, feel emotionally numb, and also keep telling themselves their loved one will return.
Anger is a strong emotional response, and often occurs when someone isn’t thinking rationally. You may find yourself lashing out at loved ones during this stage, being angry at the world, and feeling isolated too.
The third stage of grief is when people start to seek meaning behind the death of their loved one. Bargaining is all about the ‘what if’ scenarios, and how the death could have been prevented. It may also involve you trying to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning behind death.
Once you have gone through the previous stages, unfortunately, the realisation of what has happened may hit you and the sadness can come in waves. It may feel like a horrible time, but allowing yourself to feel sad is actually really important to allow you to move on. Don’t be afraid to speak to a mental health professional if you feel the depression has gone on for too long though.
Acceptance is a strange word, and when it comes to grief you can’t just accept that your loved one is never coming back. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten them, you are just finding ways to navigate life without them.
Progressing Towards Closure
A closure letter is often a great way to express your thoughts and feelings to the person you are grieving for, even though they won’t be able to read it. The idea of the letter is to provide you with an outlet for your emotions, a chance to straighten out your thoughts and begin your healing process.
When writing your closure letter, authenticity and honesty are key. After all, this is to help with your healing, no one else’s. Whether you feel sad, angry, lonely, or confused, articulate your emotions by writing them down. You may have tried therapy or talking to your family and not had any success, but when it comes to writing a letter you can be truly honest without fear of being judged. This letter is for you, and you alone, so don’t worry about how someone else may perceive your words.
Take Your Time To Adjust
Finding closure after death takes as long as it needs to, don’t compare your timeline to anyone else’s. Some people may tell you to simply stop grieving, to help you move forward with your life. Remember these people are just uncomfortable with the emotions you are displaying, which is their problem and not yours. Take the time to process your feelings and emotions in your own way.
There are bound to be big decisions that you will have to make as part of the closure, like throwing away old clothes, moving house, and even changing jobs. These can feel like huge, impossible milestones, so just remember any small steps you take are moving you in the right direction. Be kind to yourself and don’t apply too much pressure.
Hopefully these tips have given you some healthy mechanisms you can use when going through grief. Remember, closure is all about being able to return to a normal life while still keeping those fond memories of your loved one.