About 2 months ago, I lost my dad. And it was one of those life changing experiences that literally threw me off balance.
My dad was very ill before he died, and he was constantly going through dialysis as a result of his renal failure. And at that time, even though it seemed like everything was breaking apart in my world, I still held on to the hope that God would perform a miracle and save him from his ailment.
But sadly when I received the news of his passing , I just felt like God wasn’t just and fair. In fact, I questioned if He even loved me and I began to doubt many things about my faith.
However, after I had finally allowed myself to really process the news of his passing, I knew I just had to begin the process of grieving.
You see, the word grieving has always been a fairly used word in my dictionary. Because I didn’t think in a million years that I would lose someone so close to me this early in life. But after I lost my dad, it suddenly dawned on me that this life we live in is actually quite short, and whether we wake up tomorrow or not is something we obviously have no control of.
For me the grieving process was very difficult, and being far away from my family in a completely different country didn’t make it easier. So I had to focus on staying strong.
I had to wake myself up everyday and go to class and take my exams, even though all I wanted to do was just lay in bed and cry. I still had to eat and stay healthy even though my appetite was being affected by the loss of my dad. Most importantly, I still had to smile and be happy for those around me whose fathers were still present in their lives, knowing very well that mine was gone.
And as difficult as it was for me to be strong, I knew there was nothing else I could be.
And so, I kept moving… I decided to pick myself up each day and focus on strength. And that’s why I’m here to talk to you guys today..
How do you stay strong while you’re grieving ??
I don’t have one answer for this, because there’s a lot of things I had to do in order to stay strong, and I want to make sure I don’t miss any point that’s important. Because I know there are some people out there who might need to hear this, So I’m going to do my best to elaborate on each point.
1.) What do you believe in?
And the reason why this is my first point on the list is because a lot of times, the way we grieve depends heavily upon what we choose to believe in about death.
So for example, if you’re someone who doesn’t believe in a life after death, your process of grieving might actually be a lot more difficult than someone who believes in a life after death. And most times the person who doesn’t believe in anything always ends up grieving from a place of complete loss while the person who at least believes in an after life ends up having hope in seeing their loved ones again.
Do know that I’m not here to push religion on you or tell you what to believe in… Instead, I’m here to tell you how your belief can help make or break your grieving process.
So In my case, I’m christian and I do believe in Heaven and so when I was in my first stage of grieving, that was the only thing I could really hold on to.
So it’s important that you really focus on what you believe in in order to help you get through this period.
2.) It’s okay to be angry….BUT … just don’t stay there for too long..
I would admit, when I lost my dad, the very first person I was mad at was God.
It’s normal to feel angry when you lose someone so near and dear to your heart. And most times we tend to dish our anger out on God or whoever we feel is responsible for taking our loved ones.
So what I’m here to tell you is that.. It’s okay to feel angry. It shows that this loss truly affects you, and you do have empathy about the situation. However, I do want you to know that it’s NOT okay to remain in that position.
Anger would not allow you move on, because all you’ll keep holding on to is resentment. And It might even start to affect those around you. So I suggest you allow yourself to be angry for a moment, but release it later on.
Personally, I had to surrender my anger to God. It did take a while, but I eventually did. And the moment I did was when I started getting many answers to questions I had regarding his death.
So you see why it’s important to release that anger? Because holding on to it only prevents us from getting the answers we so desperately need.
3.) Talk to others, especially those who have lost loved ones and have allowed themselves to grieve.
And I have to be very specific about this one, because when you talk to people who can relate, the grieving becomes easier knowing that you are not alone.
Try to find people who know what it’s like to lose a loved one. Most importantly, people who have allowed themselves to grieve and come out of it.
Most times, these people have the best words of encouragement and wisdom to offer you. And since they’ve allowed themselves to grieve their losses, they can help you on your own journey of grieving.
It’s also important that you don’t seek advice from people who haven’t lost loved one. Because these people are only able to empathize with you, but can’t really process the depth of your situation. And you definitely won’t want to find yourself feeling resentful or hateful towards them when they eventually forget about your loss.
4.) DON’T BLOCK OUT THE EMOTIONS YOU’RE FEELING
I have to put this in caps because I was very guilty of this when I first heard the news of my dad’s passing. I blocked it out and pretended like it wasn’t even there. It even became a habit of mine to live in denial and keep shutting off my emotions each time something reminded me of him. Eventually though, that habit caught up with me, and I suddenly found myself needing therapy because of how wounded I was.
So I’m here to encourage you to allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re feeling. If you have to lay in bed and cry.. DO IT. If you have to scream and break some plates.. DO IT. …just don’t hurt yourself….
Because releasing those emotions by crying and feeling vulnerable would eventually allow you to heal. So it’s important that you don’t block it out.
5.) Therapy and Journaling
We all need therapy. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Because therapy helps us stay mentally healthy. And for someone who is grieving, this might actually end up being very beneficial to you.
If you find yourself feeling very depressed or withdrawn from society, I highly HIGHLY suggest finding a local therapist, espeically one who has experience with patients who have grieved loved ones.
It’s important that you don’t stay in that dark place, because that would only lead to all sorts of physical and mental issues.
On the other hand, I do encourage you to keep a journal and write down how you feel each day. Putting your feelings and emotions on paper helps a lot in releasing the pain that you’re experiencing. It also helps you keep track of your growth as you move on during this difficult time.
This is actually what jump started my grieving process. I accepted the loss before I even started allowing myself to grieve. And I think it’s actually what helped me grieve in a healthy way.
So if you are grieivng, I suggest you start accepting the loss. Go and visit places that remind you of your loved one and allow yourself to accept the loss. Don’t push the feelings away or avoid doing the things you did with them. Because that would only delay your grieving process.
You would eventually begin to create new memories, and healing will flow in…
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