Unfortunately, we all have to deal with death at some point in our lives, but fortunately, we are all in it together and I have some tips to share with you to help you get through it.

It’s very important to know that there are steps in the grieving process that everyone goes through, and sometimes, it can take longer to get through some of the steps in the grieving process than you might expect.

Here are the steps in the grieving process:

  1. Denial/Shock
    I’m sure everyone’s first response to news of the passing of a loved one is, “what?”  Of course, the death of a loved one is never truly expected; it’s shocking to hear the news and for some reason, your body/mind initially reject the news or idea of that person not being around any longer.
  2. Pain/Guilt
    Of course, the death of a loved one is painful – nobody wants to be without their loved one, and guilt, that’s a really difficult stage, especially for me.  I have dealt with many suicides of loved ones in my life, and guilt has always been the step that takes me the longest to get through.  I often feel guilt for the suicides because it always feels like I could (should) have done more to ensure that person knew just how much they were loved.
  3. Anger/Bargaining
    It’s very common to feel angry after the death of a loved one; how can you not be angry – your loved one is no longer physically around.  Fortunately, this is one of the stages that I find is easiest to get through…mostly because the sadness takes over, but still, it’s very hard to feel angry at or about the death of a loved one, at least that’s what I find.
  4. Depression/Reflection/Loneliness
    Ah, depression – the most common, and worst stage.  Sadness and depression are the emotions that immediately come to mind when you think of the death of a loved one.  Many times, it can feel like getting back to normal everyday living will never come during this stage, and that’s normal, it’s okay.  This is also the stage that most people will reflect on the death of your loved one, which can bring more emotions of depression and loneliness, but it’s important to know that you’re not actually alone – there are many people who love and care about you that are available and willing to help get you through this difficult situation.
  5. Upward Turn
    This is the stage where you will typically start to feel a little better, and make a turn toward the end of the grieving process.  During this stage, you start to feel a little better, and start to let go of some of the sadness.
  6. Reconstruction/Working Through
    This is the stage where you start to get back into your normal every day living and adjusting your life without your loved one being around.  During this step, you will also start to work through all of the emotions that you just experienced, and also start to work through the facts of the actual death.
  7. Acceptance
    Finally, you will reach the acceptance stage, but it isn’t easy to get here – this can take YEARS to reach.  When my pepere died, I didn’t actually accept it until maybe five years later.  Be patient, and do what you need to do to get through this.  Acceptance is the goal, obviously, because you will prove that you can get through it, and you can move on and live your life, knowing that you’re not forgetting that person, just adjusting your life without them.

Besides the 7-Step Grieving Process, here are my other top tips to help you get through the death of a loved one:

  • Realize that everyone grieves differently, and however you grieve is up to you, it’s your prerogative, and it’s okay
  • Open up and talk about it, but ONLY when you’re ready – don’t rush it
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable; this isn’t an easy process and you can’t be the strongest person in the world all the time – it’s okay
  • Let others be there for you, and lean on them when you need them
  • Know that you’re allowed to be messed up for a while.  Again, this is NOT an easy process, you’ll get there, but you might be a little fucked up for a bit
  • DO NOT turn to drugs or alcohol – that never ends well
  • Take a vacation, a mini-vaca, or even a little staycation – take time for YOURSELF to take care of you
  • Do something you love.  Again, you need to take care of yourself and doing something that you [normally] love to do, might help speed up the process and help you feel like a normal human being again.  I know it’s hard to do anything fun during the grieving process, but it’s important to take care of yourself
  • Cherish the good memories you have with that lost loved one.  Believe me, they would want you to celebrate their life rather than make yourself feel worse.
  • Give yourself time, be patient, the grieving process is not an easy, or quick one – be gentle with yourself.

xoxo

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