Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Perhaps you’re searching to find the right healing pathway. Mourning a loss is an individual journey with no road map or timeline. Yet, there are three likely outcomes:
- personal growth,
- inertia, or
- decline resulting in complicate depression.
The desired outcome for any grief healing pathway is personal growth and finding your way back to happiness. Grief is only a serious problem when inertia leads to a decline in mental wellbeing which results in complicated depression.
Shock and numbness
In the hours, days and weeks after the death of a loved one, feelings of shock and numbness are natural. During this phase, you may find yourself on autopilot. You’ll make funeral arrangements, order flowers, accommodate visiting family, manage streams of well-wishers, and keep daily living tasks on track. But eventually, the numbness wears off, and the reality of your loss sets in.
Inertia is your friend
When the shock and numbness wear off disorganization takes over. Sadness and heavy-heartedness fill each day. Poor focus affects judgement. Indecisiveness slows things to a halt and frustration levels rise. Many bereaved say their thinking is foggy. Experts recommend not making any significant decisions concerning finances, real estate and assets during this phase.
Professional counsellors suggest viewing inertia as your friend. Inertia is your time to be; your time to roll with your emotions, cherish fond memories and revisit treasured keepsakes throughout your home. No longer are you upholden to your usual must-dos. Grief grants you the freedom to reflect and review what was.
Inertia soon gives way to reorganization and personal growth. While on this grief healing pathway, many bereaved say a new sense of purpose rises from within. They’re no longer focused on what was. When this happens, active mourning subsides as new ways to move forward becomes clear.
Sorting through your memories and finding closure is an important part of this phase. People who make it a practice of recalling positive, happy memories harness the courage and strength to create a new life; a new normal.
Decline and complicated depression
If inertia or mourning goes on for a long time without progress, it develops into complicated grief. Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Continued emotional numbness
- Unable to accept the death
- Feeling preoccupied with your loved one or how they died
- Intense sorrow and emotional pain, sometimes including bitterness or anger
- Unable to enjoy good memories about your loved one
- Blaming yourself for the death
- Wishing to die to be with your loved one
- Excessively avoiding reminders of your loved one’s loss
- Continuous longing for your loved one
- Feeling alone, detached from others, or distrustful of others since the death
- Trouble persuing interests or planning the future
- Feeling that life is empty without your loved one
- Loss of identity or purpose in life, feeling like a part of yourself died with your loved one
Seek qualified professional help if you or anyone close to your departed loved one develop any of the above symptoms. There is no shame in admitting you’re not coping. Research shows one in five people need professional help dealing with grief after the death of a loved one.
Healing From Grief by Denise Gibb is the ideal grief recovery book for anyone who has lost a beloved spouse, family member, or friend. Filled with uplifting healing affirmations and heartfelt pictures – this book gently and insightfully inspires the bereaved to empower inner healing.
Above all, have faith you’ll navigate grief’s healing pathway. With time and support, you’ll make sense of your loss and work through the pain. Life will return to a new normal. A renewed sense of purpose, along with joy and laughter will fill your days.