Grief and loss can be two of the heaviest emotions that the human experience has to offer. There is a component of longing for what was and can no longer be, as well as a deep sorrow beyond explanation. 2020 demanded more of us than what we expected. 2020 also took things from us. Many of us lost loved ones in 2020 and the thought of beginning a new year without them can be heartbreaking. Many people believe that when we lose someone special, a part of us goes with them meaning we are not the same person anymore. In a world full of their absence, you may be constantly trying to find your loved one again. This can be frightening, sad, and lonely. The truth that all of us can admit is that time continues to pass. As someone who is grieving or someone who has experienced loss, it is important to remember that we must choose what this new life will look like and what we are going to make of our new reality.
Experiencing grief and loss can be a very lonely time in one’s life. The pandemic has made things even lonelier. If you are experiencing grief or loss, you may feel the desire to ignore your feelings or suppress your emotions. Grief must be acknowledged in order to release it and there is room for all of your feelings. It is human nature to want to avoid painful experiences and it may feel like there is no hope for being able to cope with the pain. However, we learn about our capacity to handle things by moving through them. Making space to experience painful emotions allows us to practice our resilience and grow our own internal resources.
Surrounding yourself with supportive and patient people is one way that grieving can be made more manageable. Grief can be unpredictable and can sneak up at inopportune times. Grief can be like waves that crest and crash on the shore. These times can be made easier by having good people ‘in your corner’ so to speak. With a team around you, it may become easier to see that you do not always have to be “the strong one”, and that others can help you in grieving and healing.
Grief can be exhausting. Your body is very wise and will try to slow you down and invite you to authentically mourn the losses that touch your life. This means that caring for your body during periods of intensive stress is quite important. Carving out time for naps, eating nourishing goods, and drinking plenty of water can make a world of positive difference. Alcohol and sugar may seem like quick fixes, but they can actually have the opposite effect in the long term. Another option for alleviating the exhaustion of guilt can be downgrading your expectations of yourself. If you’re a list person, limit each day to three things, and tackle them in the order of importance. It is okay to do less.
Some people find a bit of relief in doing specific tasks that remind them of a lost loved one. You may consider lighting a candle for your loved one, sharing a funny story about a loved one, or creating an online tribute for your loved one. Some people also get together with others who knew the lost person and have everyone tell a funny story about the loved one.
Grief and loss are so very difficult for many reasons and not every loss will have closure or a happy ending. In all instances of navigating grief and loss it is imperative to be brave – to continue on even though it is extremely hard to do so. The weight you may be carrying is heavy and some days it will feel unbearable but strive to find joy where it is available. Through this messy journey of creating a life that looks different without your person, remember how lucky you are to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard.