Getting Through Grief and Letting Go
Letting go of grief is no easy task. Grief is something you might be holding tight to—a reminder of your loved one or a connection to their memory. Loosening your grip and ultimately surrendering your grief can seem like a scary and daunting task but it’s a necessary process you must go through to once again be whole.
Before you can let go of grief, you must spend ample time with it. Letting go of grief isn’t something that can be done in a few weeks time. You must first allow yourself time to mourn, cry, anguish, and long for your loved one. The grief process is essential to your healing and shouldn’t be rushed.
There is life after grief, however. Once you have moved through your grief, taking your time to allow natural feelings to flow and time to care for yourself, you might wake one day and find yourself ready for a fresh start. Just as Spring follows Winter, a new season is in bloom in your life—a season without daily pain and emotions of grief. You have changed and grown as a result of your loss and season of grief and it’s time to embrace the new you and step back out into the world.
For Grief Counseling Redbank, NJ and Grief Counseling Westfield, NJ contact therapist Margaret Lundrigan, Psy.D., LCSW of Lundrigan Counseling and Psychological Services. Margaret’s approach is dynamic and supportive and geared to helping people find solutions to the challenges of through grief therapy.
Grief counselor near me – 55 Highway 35, Suite 6, Red Bank, Monmouth County, NJ 07701 | (908) 838-7209.
Steps for Working Through Grief
Once you’ve shed the heavy load of grief and embark on your new journey, keep in mind five important steps you must take:
- Take Responsibility for Your Own Life: It’s time to realize you are no longer responsible for your loved one. You must give up any excuses for not moving forward in life and take 100% responsibility for yourself.
- Change Your Way of Thinking: It’s time to change any negative self-talk to words of affirmation. Change “I can’t do that…” to “I can do anything!”, and “That won’t happen…” to “I can see this happening!”. Having a positive can-do attitude will sustain you on this new path.
- Do Something New: You are a new person so it’s only fitting you do something new. Learn a new skill, travel to new places, do something you never thought you would do. Even if you think you don’t like something or think of something as too scary, just try it! You might discover that you actually like it after all or that taking risks can actually be fun.
- Set New Personal Goals: Set new goals that you can begin to work towards. Set one goal for one year from now, another for two years from now, and a third for five years from now. Write these goals down in a journal or save them to your computer where you can find and revisit them often. Having goals to work towards will keep you moving on your new journey.
- Help Someone Else: One of the best things you can do with all the lessons you’ve learned from your time in grief is to help another through their journey. You can volunteer at a hospice or community grief support center, moderate small grief-support groups, or be a one-on-one companion for someone who has just experienced a devastating loss. You will not only receive the reward of helping another in need, but you will also be frequently reminded of how far you have come.
Remember that you will hit bumps in the road along the way. There will be days when your grief sneaks back in and threatens to derail your journey ahead. Recognize this grief as normal, allow it to visit for a short time, then send it on its way and continue down your path of healing.
Grief occurs any time we experience loss. It appears after a clear loss, like the death of a loved one, or a loss like a divorce or loss of identity. Grief is a natural, normal process to help us get through and process the experience.
If you are unsure whether you are experiencing grief or finding it challenging to work through bereavement, grief counseling can offer support and helpful ways to bring meaning to the loss and allow you to move forward through your grief.
Grief is a journey you must endure after the loss of a loved one. It’s easy to become overwhelmed as you work through the phases and tasks of grief so it’s important to remember to care for yourself.
Here are 10 tips, collected from people who have traveled this road before you, to help you along this journey.
- Seek and Accept Support: You cannot travel this path alone. You need the support and care of others. Call on a trusted family member or friend, church clergy, or professional counselors. Call your local hospice agency or community grief center for advice to get you started.
- Accept Your Grief: Don’t try to run and hide from your grief. You need to experience the pain and sorrow to be able to move past it and on toward healing.
- Find Role Models: You are not the first to travel the road of grief. Discover how others have coped with loss before you. This will provide you with a model to base your own healing on and remind you that you are not alone. Read books on grief and meet others who have worked through grief at support groups.
- Learn About Grief. The more you know about grief and dispel the myths surrounding it, the more you will realize that your grief is normal. You also might discover warning signs that your grief is complicated and that you need more help to cope. Either way, knowledge is power.
- Express Your Grief: Grief cannot stay hidden deep within you. The best way to work through grief is to let it out. Cry, scream, and yell if you need to. Express your feelings through music, art, poetry, or journaling. Whether you express your grief with a safe person you trust or let it out in complete privacy, expressing your feelings is the only true way to honor your grief and begin to work through it.
- Accept Your Feelings: Grief can bring many different feelings to the surface—some very intense. Acknowledge these feelings and accept them as part of the natural grieving process. Don’t hold in anger, sadness, or longing. These are important feelings that, once expressed, help you heal.
- Pace Yourself: Grief can be exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to feel so intensely. Allow yourself plenty of time to do everyday activities and don’t over-schedule yourself. Rest when you need to and offer yourself some grace.
- Get Involved in Something: Getting involved in work or some other activity you enjoy can keep you focused and offer a welcome distraction from your grief. If that activity is especially meaningful or helpful to others, you might find it also raises your spirits.
- Have a Little Fun: Sometimes grieving people won’t allow themselves to have any fun—as if sharing a laugh with someone is somehow dishonoring the memory of their loved one. The truth is, laughter is excellent medicine. A great way to have some genuine fun is to surround yourself with children or animals.
- Keep the Faith: Remember that intense grief doesn’t last forever. One of my favorite sayings goes, “Faith is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go on when fear is present.” Keep the faith that you will one day heal and be whole again.
By Angela Morrow, RN and Fact checked by Lisa Sullivan, MS