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  • Writer's pictureJeff Lundgren

Understanding Your Grief

Dealing with grief is a personal and often solitary journey. When someone close to you dies—a spouse, child, parent, or friend—navigating your grief can be challenging. Each person's grief is unique.

Practical Tips for Navigating Your Grief

There is no "right" way to grieve. However, a few approaches may help you on your journey. Here are some important things to consider:

Allow Yourself to Feel

Grieving can be isolating. Friends and family may surround you initially, but what happens after that? It's important to allow yourself to feel the loss. While it might be tempting to suppress negative feelings, acknowledging the pain is essential to healing. Avoiding sadness can prolong the grieving process and lead to depression, anxiety, or substance use.

Express Your Story

Your grief journey is personal, with a unique story of how you arrived at this painful place. While others might have witnessed your journey, they might be surprised at how you interpret your experience. For some, sharing the story is cathartic, releasing emotions like guilt, shame, anger, fear, and relief. For others, it provides a space to voice confusion.

You might find yourself trying to process the surreal experience or struggling to comprehend the loss. You may need to express what that was like for you. You don't need anyone to "fix" it; no one can. But acknowledging that "That was hard" can mean the world.

Engage in Private Mourning Rituals

Consider engaging in private mourning rituals. Unlike public rituals such as memorial services, these are personal and speak only to you. If you’re unsure how to begin, try these suggestions:

  • Create a small altar with photos and mementos.

  • Write letters to your loved one (if this is your grief).

  • Light a candle and sit in silence.

  • Play music that reminds you of them.

Self-Care is Important

Self-care is helpful to the grieving process, especially if you prefer to be alone. Consider these self-care ideas to get started:

  • Stick to a daily routine.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat well.

  • Restrict or avoid alcohol.

  • Practice mindfulness meditation.

  • Maintain hobbies and activities that bring you joy.

  • Express your feelings about your loss.

Embrace Your Unique Journey

Recognize that your grief is your own. There is no blueprint or timeline for how or when you should feel it. Allow yourself to experience emotions, share your story, and seek connection when needed. You will find a new normal and rebuild yourself around the loss, becoming whole again in a way that honors your journey and what you have lost.

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