No human life is unscathed by loss, in one form or another, at one time or another. Be it parents, siblings, friends, or God forbid, children… it is always, always devastating and will rock you to the core.

There’s no one-size-fits-all on this journey. Dealing with death is a process and grief has many faces. It is a physical, emotional, social, spiritual and psychological response, and it affects every part of your life. You may feel numb and exhausted – grief hurts.

Although there is no shortage of advice, no book or article can adequately prepare you for the loss of a loved one. Some days you may feel strong enough to handle it, and on other days it will take all you have just to get out of bed.

“There’s no such thing as ‘getting over’ grief,” writes Dr Alan Wolf in his book Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart. However, he adds: “Over time and with the support of others, your grief will soften, and you will get through it.”

Here’s how:

Express and release your emotions. Acknowledge your loss and allow yourself to feel the pain. Your life has changed, and everything is going to be different. Talk about the death of your loved one and give yourself permission to hurt as you gently seek a new normal.

Accept your feelings. Sadness, anger, exhaustion; these are all normal. But know that you can (and will) feel better over time. Talk about the person who died. Use the person’s name and express what he/she meant to you.

Allow friends and family to support you. Just being in the presence of other people who knew him/her can be comforting. You can’t do this alone. When you’re in the early days of bereavement, it can feel impossible to take care of all that needs to be taken care of; paying the bills, housework, grocery shopping… ask for and accept help.

Take care of your kids. Remind them that they are not alone in what they are feeling and reassure them that they’ll be okay. Remind them of all the people who love them and who are there to take care of them.

Don’t allow others to make decisions for you when you’re not ready. Take your time, stick to your own pace and rhythm. You don’t need to do anything until you’re ready. You may want to give special treasures to family members while other things can be boxed and stored until you’re ready to release them. You may find comfort in sleeping with something of a loved one which still has that faint smell of perfume or aftershave.

Take care of yourself. Get fresh air, eat small nutritious meals and try to get plenty of rest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your GP or a counsellor.

Prepare yourself for moments of extra grief. A song, a smell, a place or a picture could make you smile or cry. Birthdays and anniversaries can be tough. Try to be with people who care about you on those days.

Don’t be disturbed by your first laugh. You’ll never forget the person who’s gone; you can never do that, and you should not worry that you will.

So, when memories sneak out of your eyes and roll down your cheeks, remind yourself that although you never get over the loss of a loved one, you will learn to live differently.






DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.