Sometimes it can seem unbearable. The loss of a parent, child, spouse, or other loved one is sometimes unfathomable, and yet it happens. Many people wonder how to go on after such a loss, especially a traumatic accident where one’s life is cut short unexpectedly with things undone and unsaid.
You go on because you must. As callous as that may sound, it is the truth. You likely have people in your life who count on you for support, guidance, love, attention and affection. That does not stop because you are in pain. It doesn’t help you to wallow in your pain, let other loved ones go ignored, bills pile up and let your life become a mess in all areas. It may seem like you don’t care what happens to some of those things in the beginning, but that is grief talking. Emotions should not run our behaviors. Breathe, think and do what needs to be done.
There are stages of grief: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and Acceptance. You will move through all of them, and not necessarily in order. You may move through some of them more than once. Each person is different, and your experience in your journey through loss is normal.
Allow yourself to feel the loss of your loved one. If you do not feel it, you cannot heal the wound. Do not wallow. Don’t sit and punish yourself for things left unsaid or undone. Limit the time you spend thinking about your grief. When you need to cry, do it, but allow yourself 15 or 20 minutes to do so and then force yourself to do something completely different for awhile to change your thinking pattern. No good can come from more time spent at one time than that. You are going to feel the pain again, I assure you, and when you do, repeat the process, limiting the time spent with negative emotions.
Get out of bed, shower, fix your hair, put on clothes for the day and ease back into work. Not obsessively so, but you have GOT to get back to being you. Spend time with positive memories of your loved one. Laugh about funny stories about them. Smile about them when you can. Have something tangible that brings fond memories of them.
Say things left unsaid as if you were talking to them in the same room. Many people believe that the deceased can hear us. Whatever your belief system is, studies have shown that if you practice it (being congruent with your values system), you may experience an increased sense of well being. Spend time with people who are supportive and set limits with those who crash boundaries. This is your journey and you are in the drivers seat. True support comes in many forms (Psychotherapy, school counseling, church/synagogue/etc, friends, supportive family, neighbors, coworkers) and is worthwhile. Get help, when you need it!