As we grow older, so do our friends and family members. Although we don’t like to think about it, our grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and even parents are reaching more advanced ages, and no one lives forever. Experiencing the death of a loved one, especially someone you have known for a long time, is difficult to deal with.
This year has been an especially difficult one to mourn a friend or family member's passing. COVID-19 has killed over 200 thousand people in the United States as of October 31st (CDC). Additionally, the pandemic makes it risky to gather and pay your respects. What do you do?
Here are some things that will help you cope with the loss of someone who was close to you.
Don’t Avoid Their Death
Coming to terms with the loss of someone special is tough, but it's an important step. Though it will make you sad, try not to avoid talking about their death. If you're just not there yet, that's ok! Write down your thoughts and feelings. Attend their funeral (whether it's socially distanced or on Zoom), and while you’re there maybe share a few words.
Confronting your loved one's death is an important first step to accepting it.
Remember the Good Times
Instead of focusing on the fact that your loved one has recently departed, remember all the good times you spent together. Maybe this person taught you how to cook their favorite dish or treated you to your first pedicure. Focusing on these positive memories will help to turn your sadness into happier feelings.
Have No Regrets
After the death of a loved one, many people have regrets about things that did or didn’t happen in their relationship.
When looking back on your favorite memories together, realize that you expressed your love and support for this person in many different ways. Missing out on something or making a mistake or two did not tarnish your entire relationship.
If your relationship with this person was primarily tension-filled, that’s ok too. No one is perfect! Appreciate what you had, for as long as you had it, and don't get caught up in regrets and what-ifs.
Cherish Their Memory
There are many ways to cherish the memory of your family member or friend.
Framing a picture of the two of you is a great way to keep your loved one close to your heart. Writing down your favorite memories is also a great way to cherish them. If the individual passed away from a certain disease, donate money to an organization that conducts research or supports people with that disease. If you’re on a tight budget, see if you can volunteer your time!
Later in life, you will appreciate anything, big or small, that you do now to preserve their memory.
Take Your Time
The most important thing to remember is that everyone goes through the stages of grief at a different pace! Don’t feel guilty if you come to terms with their death before or after someone else.
Just because you are finding ways to cope doesn’t mean you aren’t still sad or don’t care. On the flip side, if recovering from the death is taking you a while, don’t feel bad about it. Others might tell you that you need to move on at a quicker pace, but there is nothing wrong with your personal process.
If you are here because you have recently lost someone close to you, all of us at Miss Millennia Magazine extend our sympathy!
Experiencing the death of a loved one is not easy to go through, but if you open up your heart and allow yourself to go through the grieving process step by step, you will eventually find healing.