Some people may ask how they can continue living after losing a loved one. Their feelings of grief may be intense and prevent them from moving on.
Although everyone expresses grief in various ways, the answers to overcoming the feelings can apply to everyone.
Some going through grief may have issues with anxiety, which may be reduced by using phone applications designed to decrease the severity of anxiety.
Apart from articles that discuss grief, there are websites with professional online counselors who advise about grief, such as BetterHelp. The site gives people an opportunity to ask questions about anything troubling them to licensed online counselors, who in turn provide expert advice.
So, here are a few questions posited by genuine people and online counselors’ responses to those questions. The responses serve as a direction you can take to manage your grief and find a way to move forward.
How To Keep Going After a Death of a Parent
Elizabeth Abruzzese, MA, LCPC, LMHC, recommends a few coping techniques that can aid the poster in their journey of grief.
Before anything else, however, she feels sorry for the loss of the client’s father. Anyone can imagine the pain of losing a loved one, even if they have not lost somebody.
So, Elizabeth is speaking from a place of comfort, wanting only the best for the person posing the question.
Elizabeth recommends three ways to help with experiencing grief. They are as follows:
Write a letter to the departed. Some people may feel that they did not get a good chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, people may only get to say their goodbyes over Zoom. So, Elizabeth’s idea of writing a letter to the departed helps with the individual writing down anything they wanted to say to their loved one in person. The letter can be about the person’s relationship with the deceased, good memories, or how the deceased helped the writer positively benefit their life. After writing the letter, people can place the letter on their loved one’s grave, keep it with them as a memento, or burn it. The point of the letter is to give a sense of closure.
Grief support groups. Apart from writing a letter, those experiencing grief can consult grief support groups and share their story.While pandemic conditions may make in-person meetings unavailable, individuals of all backgrounds can search for online groups with relative ease. Along with meeting people online, websites may provide articles from respected therapists with heartfelt advice supported by concrete research.
Journaling. Journaling allows people to write whatever they want anytime they are free. You may discover surprising facts about yourself that you only come to realize when you write down all of your thoughts in one place. Elizabeth recommends writing in a journal at least once a day.
How To Deal With Unexpected Grief
In a response from Jasmine Owarish-Gross, MSW, LCSW, the five stages of grief are thoroughly discussed and unpacked.
The five stages, developed by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, include the following:
Anger. People may use anger as a way to make sense of what they have lost.
Denial. After anger, people may wish their loved one’s passing was a bad dream or refuse to accept it as reality.
Depression. Once the weight of the loss settles in, those affected may feel depression as they wonder how they will go on with their life without their loved ones.
Bargaining. People may try to sort through the pain of loss by trying to come up with a strategy to overcome their pain.
Acceptance. This is often the hardest part of the grief cycle. During acceptance, people understand their loved one is no longer with them. They also recognize that they are still here living their best life, so they can try to live a life their loved one would be proud of.
However, Jasmine also brings up the sixth step, developed by David Kessler, grief expert, which is meaning. Meaning involves finding a way to live your best life while honoring your loved one whom you have lost. The purpose of the final step is to continue moving forward.
Wounds take time to heal, but they heal all the same. Jasmine recommends finding support groups, as they are also going through the same feelings of grief.
How to Feel Reconnected to Life Again
Mr. Jono Lee, MSW, LICSW, LMHC, explains how an individual’s grief can isolate them from other aspects of life, making it hard to separate oneself from the event.
He refers to SWIRL and explains the meaning of each part of the process as such:
This is the immediate pain derived from what someone may see as a failure on their part. The suddenness of the event sends a person into panic and bewilderment. Furthermore, the hopeful future that someone may have perceived in the past is shattered, leaving them feeling like they are alone.
After the sudden pain, a person may have an intense yearning for their object of desire, whether that be a person, a sentimental object, or anything else that they think would make them feel happier. A symptom of the withdrawal is feeling strung out, as the individual waits to gain back that which they have lost.
Now, the person may turn their wanting for their object of desire, or the anger they feel toward it, into self-critique as they blame themselves for losing their loved one. People may think that they are not “good enough” or they are unworthy of attaining a sense of happiness.
Some people may take their internal thoughts and transform them into rage about the situation they are in.
After some time passes, and other events in life distract a person, they may begin to experience intervals of peace. People start looking for love elsewhere and forgive themselves for having doubted themselves before.
SWIRL is a normal part of human behavior. Everyone faces disappointment in some form, and each individual recovers from their perceived failures in their unique way. Thus, the process shows that people are capable of defeating their feelings of loneliness through their willpower.
Online counselors provide advice uniquely suited for each of their clients. However, the aforementioned responses may help you or a loved one overcome feelings of grief.
There is a sense of comfort in knowing that you are not alone in expressing your grief, and it may help to know that if others can overcome their grief, then you can as well.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.