The Challenges Of Grief

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Losing a loved one is probably one of the most stressful experiences that you can have as you go through life. Loss is one of the strongest challenges that life has to give us and, sadly, it’s one that is unavoidable. The only way to really avoid loss is to isolate yourself from love, and as that isn’t a possibility it is something we will all experience. Unfortunately, grief is still in some ways a taboo subject that is hidden from view. It’s likely because the emotions that surround loss are those that we keep private to ourselves, and people prefer to put on a front that they are continuing with one foot in front of the other regardless. While loss is a natural and difficult part of life, it’s still one that we must cope with. Shock, sadness, stress and depression are all manifestations of grief, and each of these reactions are an important part of the process.

We all react to loss in different ways and our personal coping strategies with grief will differ depending on the depth of the loss. Funerals, afterlife wakes and obituaries with companies like are all ways to gain closure and celebrate the life that has been lost. This is a huge part of being able to move past grief and sadness and without it, people wouldn’t necessarily gain the closure required to deal with the loss. There is a lot of research out there that talks about grief requiring time to get through the worst of it. It’s a cliche, but time healing all wounds really is true. When people we love pass away, our world stops – but the world itself does not. This means that while we are suspended in a cloud of sadness and feeling bereft, the world will continue to move on. We have to be able to join the rest of society again and find a place among all the chaos in our own hearts to keep our feet steady. Grief is something that takes time and there is no limit to how long you need to get through it. You just will when you are ready to, and no one can tell you when that will be.

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The challenges that come with grief often come financially, physically and in your health. Financially, if you are grieving a spouse, you still have to keep your rent paid, your bills paid and your children heading to school. Humans are naturally resilient, but when the world crashes around you it can be a huge challenge to stay standing and keep on going. Your response to shock will differ from the response someone else will have, but it can have a physical manifestation in your body. Shock can lower the immune system, cause your appetite to halt and stop you from sleeping. This can then spiral into illness, weakness and an inability to function in daily life. Time is one thing you need, but support is the other. Ensuring that you have a will, life insurance and a funeral paid for is important; that way, when someone loses you, you know that you have given them a continued support while they grieve your presence. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are having to continue, then seeking therapy and someone to talk to and pour your grief out to is going to be vital for your recovery. There are several ways that you can help yourself to move on, and while you never forget the person that you lost, you will be able to heal and find some semblance of normality again.

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Talking about how you feel is going to be a big part of your own recovery and overcoming the pure grief that you feel. It doesn’t matter if you have angry words to say or happy ones, your grief is going to affect you and if you need to be angry then be angry. Just do it out loud. Internalising grief can cause you to become severely depressed and unhappy. Denying it happened and refusing to speak about it can make you feel very isolated, angry and will mean you cannot hope to have a good support system. Next, you need to accept your feelings – whatever they may be. Sadness, frustration, exhaustion; all of these feelings are valid and no one can tell you that the way you grieve is wrong, either. If your way to grieve is to keep working and being busy, then you need to do that. There is no wrong way to feel when a person you love dies. While you’re feeling bereft and sad you need to allow yourself to feel and acceptance is a big part of that. Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your family. Grief has the inane ability to make us selfish; we consider our own feelings first and while that’s natural, you won’t be the only person to grieve.

The last challenge of grieving is to allow yourself to remember. Remember the person you lost, the times you had and the words you used to say to each other. It will be painful, there’s no real getting around that, but it is something that you need to do. If you have no grave to visit to grieve, there’s nothing to stop you creating your own memorial area. Planting a tree and giving yourself somewhere to sit and think is a great way to get through the worst of the pain and give yourself a break. Life is full of challenges and grief is one that can make or break a person. Turn to love, not self-destruction and recognise when you are displaying destructive behaviours. Ask for help to get through the worst of the shock and you can overcome the challenges that come with death. It’s not an easy feat, grieving, but it’s one we must all prepare for in life.

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