The Sunday News
Living life to the fullest with Selusweyinkosi Mhlanga
As much as we all thrive to live happily, there are some seasons in life that will take that happiness from us and we are left with no clue what to do.
There is only so much we can control as humans and that happens to us all. We all experience loss in one way or the other in life. Some have gone through heartbreaks, lost a pet or a job but nothing compares to losing a fellow human being who was close to you.
When confronted with this kind of loss, it’s normal to feel helpless, angry, feel like you could have done something to stop the misfortune or to just feel numb. There are no words that one can say that can make anyone feel better about the loss of a loved one.
The grieving process
From the time one experiences or hears about the loss, the person may be shocked. This is the body’s reaction to protect one from being emotionally overwhelmed and it usually doesn’t last long. Sometimes the shock is accompanied with numbness, which is the body’s mechanism to delay any reaction so that the person has time to process the situation at their own pace.
People however, grieve in different ways, others may be in denial and fail to accept the loss at first, which may be another delaying tactic but that person will eventually have to face the facts and start to acknowledge the loss and deal with it.
Others panic and be all over the place, they would feel overwhelmed and immediately react to the emotions they are feeling and start to realise the gap that has been left by their dear one. People who grieve this way usually quickly accept the situation and are less likely to stay aggrieved for long.
How to deal with grief
It’s alright to cry, talk and voice whatever is in your mind and heart. Holding back will only delay your grief so do what you feel like doing then. There is no point in wearing a brave face in front of your friends and family as these are the people who understand you and know that there is no shame in grieving.
Relive the pleasant memories
Some may avoid walking down memory lane in fear of evoking unpleasant emotions that may cause them to break down and cry. But that’s exactly what you should do and let it all out. Don’t nurse the hurt and do not worry about who is watching you go through all this.
Think about it this way, that person you shared your life with was here on earth for a reason or reasons and you are one of the reasons which is why they shared a part of their life with you. Every person is a gift to their loved ones and you have to appreciate that you were given that gift, although for a short time, you created memories and you should cherish them. If you were to consult that person, do you think they would want you to be sad and emotional over their passing forever or would they prefer that you cherish the memories that you made together in a positive way?
Lean on family and friends
This is the time when you should accept support from your close loved ones. In most communities during the loss of a loved one there are always people around you to assist in your hour of need. Accept their words of comfort and more importantly their companionship. I know it’s tempting to want to be alone, close the curtains and sleep all day but this will only drag you down the depression route and physically leave you diseased. Allow people to take care of you and do nothing while you get your strength back; getting through this tough period can be taxing on your emotions and your health.
Keep the faith
If you believe in a higher power now is the time to tap into your faith and believe that things will be okay, no matter how gloomy things are looking at the moment. That feeling of knowing that there is something that you are living for and that things will get better should spur you on in this journey as you look through your tears to another day.
As they say, time heals and you will have to move on at one point. You will learn to live without that person although you will carry that memory with you forever. You will reach a point where you will talk about them without your voice shaking, without choking out tears and without feeling that pain. You will get there. But for now do what you have to do to go through this process without jumping any stages.
Allow yourself to grieve the way you want to until you get to that place when you will feel alright to move on, when you will feel tired of grieving and want to get back to your life. When you get there you will know.
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