Losing a loved one you were very close to is arguably the hardest thing to go through in life. It is a sheer test of inner strength and resolve to move forward and live the life they would want you to live despite them not being in it. You may feel inundated with questions of doubt, fear, and uncertainty but let me assure you it is perfectly normal and you will get through the darkness with three points of light that can guide you through the murkiness of it all.
Grieve. I know it sounds simple but we can make this unbelievably complicated. We fear that if we grieve then we are giving into those feelings we don’t want to feel. As if to feel them makes us somehow inherently less than what we perceive ourselves to be. Rubbish. We are who we are because we CAN feel and that is what makes the human experience uniquely our own! Feel the feels and sit in them for a while even if it is uncomfortable because to push them down can manifest into something much worse later on.
Be kind to yourself. When we lose a loved one, some of us may go through this weird whipping boy type of thing where we blame ourselves for their passing in some way with ridiculous notions of how we should’ve done more of this or that with them before they departed from this life. We soon find ourselves spiraling into this negative space of self-loathing and self-hate. Gross. It’s okay to be nice to yourself and cut yourself some slack. We do the best that we can and it doesn’t mean we didn’t love those no longer with us any less because of time constraints or whatever. Love yourself the way they loved you which is the perfect segue into the third point.
Allow them to live through you. When we persevere through the sadness of loss allowing ourselves permission to grieve without bashing ourselves, we open up to allowing our late loved ones to live within us. The memories we have of them will ALWAYS be with us and we can live our best lives knowing their spirit carries on through us. That is a very comforting thought and gives us courage to keep living and shining our light on others which is what they would’ve wanted us to do anyway. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING!
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Therapist!
By Jameson Holman, LMFT