You didn’t get to say goodbye. That might be the one thing I hear the most from individuals who are coping with a tragic loss. While we can never fully prepare for the loss of a loved one, a tragic loss is even harder to grieve because it was sudden and without warning. In the case of an unexpected death within your family or close friends, you need to find a way to release the emotions you are experiencing. Whether these emotions are anger, sadness, guilt, a mixture of all or even something else, it’s important to find ways to cope with this loss in a healthy way. Here are a few ways that you can cope with a tragic loss.
The most important step in coping with a tragic loss is finding support. If the deceased was a family member, you can connect with other members of your family to grieve together. You might also find support with friends or joining a support group for others dealing with loss. You can share your feelings or listen as others do so, helping you to relate. Find someone who can offer you support whenever you need it or are at your lowest point. Having someone you know you can count on no matter what is important in your grieving process.
In some cases, coping with the tragic death of a loved one can include legal justice. in your time of need, pursuing a lawsuit will not replace your loved one, but it can ease the financial burden left to your family after his or her death. Even though you are grieving, it’s important to act quickly; waiting too long for the pain to subside can impact your case negatively.
This may not apply to everyone, but in the case of a tragic loss, there may be misgivings that you are holding onto. You could have given or received harsh words to or from the recently deceased. At this point, the guilty party does not matter. Whether it was you or the person you lost, an important step is to forgive. If this means forgiving yourself or another person, finding peace and forgiveness in your heart will lead to peace.
Letters to heaven
Is there something you never had a chance to say? In coping with a tragic loss, the hardest thing may be that your friend or family member’s death was so sudden that there are sentiments you missed out on. Have the last words ceremony with those who were close to the deceased. You will each bring a letter to the deceased that you have written. You can either read it aloud or choose to keep your words to yourself. The letter will be folded up and attached to the balloon. You can release all the balloons together or release each balloon as the letters are read. This ceremony is especially good for children who are dealing with the tragic loss of a parent, but it also works well for adults.
Give yourself time to heal
Begin the process by understanding and allowing yourself time to grieve. It’s important to note that grieving is different for everyone, depending on your relationship to the deceased. Understand that this is not going to be a quick process and you shouldn’t be frustrated with yourself for continuing to be sad months later. It’s how you handle the grief that is important.
Nature can truly be its own method of handling grief. Find a park, nature preserve or another peaceful area where you can go on a walk and get some fresh air. Staying indoors, grieving and isolating yourself can be detrimental to your healing process. If you need motivation, find a walking partner. You might need someone you can count on to get you outside, even on your worst days.
Volunteer or just help someone
Helping others can help with the grieving. Putting a smile on another person’s face or making someone’s day better will allow you to see outside of your own grief. Look at opportunities in your area to volunteer your time to help a cause that is important to you. Volunteering or helping others can put perspective on your own life. While you have lost someone important to you, helping others may allow you to see other positive aspects of your life.
Write it out
Writing in a journal is a therapeutic way to release your thoughts and feelings on paper that you otherwise would not share. Set a specific time each day to put your thoughts to paper, forcing you to write even on days you may not want to. Capturing your emotions on paper will allow you to reflect on them weeks later to see your progress. Ask yourself each day, how am I feeling? There’s no need to hold back; your journal is your own personal space to feel.
Learn to meditate
Meditation is a way to heal after a tragic loss. While it’s difficult to imagine in the beginning, meditation can guide you to recognize that the person you are grieving for would never want you to be in this state. It’s important to understand that meditation is not a quick fix for grieving, but it will help you resolve internal issues that could otherwise hurt you down the road. Meditation is a way to be self-reflective, acknowledging your grief and moving forward in the best way possible.
Yoga or another exercise
Not only is exercise getting you outside, but it’s also a way to get you out of your head! Not only will you feel the physical benefits of exercise, but it will also help with your mental health. Yoga is a great form of low impact exercise that can help you clear your mind and focus on something other than your grief. Depending on where you live, there are yoga classes dedicated to individuals dealing with grief. You can meet and connect with others who are experiencing the same emotions, plus increase your mental well-being from the exercise.
Coping with a tragic loss can impact your life in many ways. If you are angry, sad, depressed or a host of other emotions, it’s important to find ways to handle your grief in positive ways. Whether you join a support group, start journaling your feelings, or start other activities, doing any of these things can help aid in the grieving process. Remember, you are not alone. Others have suffered and can be there to help support you and grieve with you in a positive way.