Coping with the loss of a loved one, whether it is a child, family member, or close friend, may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face in our lives. Although loss is understood as a natural part of life, we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, anger, sadness and other emotions that are involved through the grieving process. As time goes on, the sadness typically diminishes, but grieving is an important process in order to overcome these feelings and continue to embrace the time you had with your loved one.

Grieving individuals may find it useful to use some of the following strategies to help come to terms with a loss. The following can be a renewed sense of meaning that offers purpose and direction to life:

  • Talk about the death of your loved one: With friends and colleagues in order to understand what happened and remember your friend or family member.  When the time is right, let your emotions out and let others help you through the process.
  • Accept your feelings: People experience all kinds of emotions after the death of someone close. Sadness, anger, frustration and even exhaustion are all normal.
  • Take care of yourself and your family: Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest helps us get through each day and keeps us moving forward.
  • Reach out and help others dealing with the loss: Helping others has the added benefit of making you feel better as well. Sharing stories of the deceased can help everyone cope.
  • Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones: Possibilities include donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. What you choose to do is up to you, as long as it allows you to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by your emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find ways to get back on track.

The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually, as it can’t be forced or hurried. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months, but sometimes it can take years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.