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Helping Yourself

When someone you love has died, you will have to face the difficult need to mourn. This can be an extremely hard thing to do, especially if you also must handle the logistics of planning for the funeral. But, it is essential that you do not ignore your emotional health and subvert your pain. Coping with your grief is an essential part of healing. Below, some tips are described that may help you better handle your pain.

Understand That Everyone Grieves Differently
Not everyone grieves the same way. Your means of dealing with your pain may be very different from even another member in your family. These differences depend upon a number of conditions spanning from your relationship with your deceased loved one to your cultural and religious heritage. So, don't try to compare your means of grief with those of other people. Just take one day at a time and be patient as you deal with the reality of the death of your loved one. Your means of dealing with this tragic event is unique and personal.

Be Prepared for Emotional Numbness
Often, in the early stages of grief, people experience a sense of numbness. This is normal. And, it serves a good purpose -- allowing your emotions to catch up with what your mind has told you about the reality of the death. This feeling of insensibility helps give you protection from the reality of the death until you are more able bear what you don't want to believe.

Talk About Your Sorrow
It is often helpful to talk about your inner suffering concerning the death. By talking about your grief, you can often find a sense of catharsis and solace. It makes you feel better. Through sharing, the walls that hold in the insidious pain are broken down, allowing room for your pain to escape and for a fresh breeze to blow in. Also, by sharing your grief, you allow others to hear how you are doing and give them a better understanding of your needs.

When you choose those with whom you want to share, look for friends who will listen without judging -- people who will care about your heart and won't try to gloss over everything with simple comments like, "the sun will always shine again" or "put on a happy face". Remember, you have the right to grieve. Don't let anyone try to take that from you.

Expect an Emotional Roller coaster
Experiencing a loss of someone loved affects you to the core. Your entire head, heart, and spirit are affected. Confusion, anger, and remorse may hit you at unexpected moments and you may not be able to explain what wrought them at a particular time. This is a normal stage and response to the death of a loved one. While normal, these unexpected emotional breakdowns can still leave you feeling overwhelmed. In effort to alleviate this pain, find someone with whom you can speak that can understand and comfort you.

Create Boundaries
Struggling with grief is not only emotionally draining, but is also physically exhausting. With lower energy, you may find that your ability to think clearly and make decisions is detrimentally affected. Listen to your body and take care of it. Create boundaries for yourself by lightening up your schedule. Set aside time to rest and heal. Eat well balanced meals. By caring for yourself, you are not being selfish, but doing what is right for survival and proper health.

Form a Supportive Network
Reaching out to others and asking for support during a time of need is often not easy, particularly when you hurt so much; but it is extremely necessary. One of the most caring things you can do for personal healing is to extend yourself to supportive family and friends. Surround yourself with people who understand your needs and who encourage you to be real--whether happy or sad.

Care for Your Spirit
If you are a person with a religious faith, hold fast to your spirituality during your times of struggle. Surround yourself with people of similar religious beliefs and let them be a support to you. If you doubt God and his goodness because of the death, realize that this reaction is not bizarre, but normal. Find people who can walk with you through this time of anger, confusion, and doubt.

Some people may say, "There is no need to grieve with faith." This is just not true. There is a time for everything, including a time to grieve. Having a personal faith doesn't deny you the need to talk about and express your inner pain resulting from the death of a loved one. Do not ignore your grief. Rather, use your family, friends, and faith to cope with your grief in a very real, honest way.

Utilize Ceremony
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge your deceased loved one; it also helps you say 'goodbye' and to express your sorrow. Plus, it gives you the chance to surround yourself with caring people and to receive their support. If you fail to have the funeral ritual, you rob yourself of this important means toward healing and you cheat everyone who cares to pay tribute to the dearly departed loved one.

Be Open for Questions
In a time of grief, you may find yourself burdened with questions like, "Why did he die?" "Why this way?" "Why now?" This quest for understanding and meaning is yet another normal process of grief. Some of these questions have answers. Some of them do not. But, the act of posing these questions is an important step toward catharsis and healing.

Cherish Memories
Memories are the best legacies that remain after a person dies. Hold on to these memories and reflect upon them. Share them with family and friends. These memories may make you laugh or cry, but they are something to be cherished as they are the lasting part of the relationship that you had with someone you loved.

In Conclusion, Take Care of Your Heart
In summary, give yourself time to mourn. Allow yourself the chance to feel and respond to the reality of your loved one's death. Then, express your feelings to caring friends and family in efforts to come to terms with this reality and to find a supportive group in which to find solace.

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