Why Grieving Is Important.

One of the most arduous trials of human life is enduring the death of a loved one. Grief is something that connects us all. When faced with grief, we carry the heavy burden of sorrow with us as we attempt to make sense of life without the deceased. The deep pain and suffering that characterizes grief is life-changing. How do we go on living in a world that is irreversibly altered? For many, ‘successful’ grieving means letting go of those who are no longer with us. Everyone experiences grief differently. The way you cope with loss may look different to the next person and it’s difficult to tell the difference between your grieving process and your new normal. So, understanding what your grieving process looks like is key to starting your journey to recovery.

Common feelings of grieving people:

Regret- feelings of regret of what they did or did not do when the person was alive. This is normal but if this goes on for too long and you have a hard time not blaming yourself, you may require to seek some professional help.

Sadness- they may feel empty and numb inside, want to isolate, don’t want any reminders of the loss, want to take a break from their usual routine, go to work but feel like they just going through the motions, sleep much earlier or much later. These disruptions can be temporary or may continue for a longer period (for some to the point where they can’t get out of bed) This may again be a sign that they may need to get some help.

Coping strategies that you need to be wary of:

Avoidance Strategies: Often times people will try and avoid feeling anything or deal with the pain by trying to sleep more to deal with those feelings. This is very normal but when you can’t even get on with your daily activities for example- like take a bath, get dressed, go to work, that usually is a sign when this is getting more severe.

Numbing the Pain- More damaging ways are relying on alcohol or drugs to numb that pain. When this behavior increases…(drinking more and more every day) then it is something you need to look out for and seek professional help. Sometimes this may lead to wanting to hurt themselves, end their lives.

Helpful Coping Strategies:

Acceptance: Accepting that you need to grieve is important. However, you don’t need to get over anyone you have lost. You can still miss the person you have lost. That resistance to “get over and move on” makes it harder.
Grief can come and go. There is not a “stop point” to grief. You can always look back and remember the person you lost and have a cry from time to time if needed.

Take Your Time: Understand that recovery after bereavement takes time, and for some, the grieving process may take much longer than others. There is no set schedule for grieving, and there is no pressure to ‘move on. It is also important to emphasize that this is not about ‘getting over the loss of a loved one

The New Normal: comes when you continue to miss the person you have lost but are more reflective and contemplative when you think about him/her. You fill that space with someone else (e.g.- going out for a coffee with a friend instead of your partner you lost). Try to put yourself in your loved one’s shoes; Would they want you to cry thinking about them every time or move on with yourself?

Honour the Loved One Exercise: Understand that recovery after bereavement takes time, and for some, the grieving process may take much longer than others. There is no set schedule for grieving, and there is no pressure to ‘move on. It is also important to emphasize that this is not about ‘getting over the loss of a loved one, as in the midst of grief, it is likely that you cannot begin to imagine accepting your loss. Rather, this exercise is about helping you renegotiate your relationship with grief so that they can remember and solidify an enduring connection with the person/people you have lost.

If at any point, you become overwhelmed by this exercise, you are encouraged to take a break and return to the activity when you feel ready to do so with no rush or time constraints. It is important that this exercise is completed without unnecessary pressure.

When we experience an unimaginable loss, the pain can feel unbearable. We feel it like a physical sensation that is real and personal – like a heavy weight has settled on our heart.
While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, remembering and reminiscing can help us make sense of things and face the void created by the loss of someone special. Cultures from all over the world honour their loved ones this way.

In this exercise, you will create a Life Certificate for your lost loved one. A Life Certificate is a way for you to honour this special person and the unique relationship you had. Through remembering and honouring them in this way, they remain with you for eternity – in your memories, the stories you tell, and the life you live as a result of having had the privilege of knowing them.

Step 1: Remembering your loved one

This step is all about reflecting on and thinking about the special memories you shared with your loved one and the different ways in which this person influenced your life.
Thinking about all those unique characteristics and stories will help you realize that your relationship is about more than the pain you are feeling right now. Grief is not easy to bear, and it can be painful to remember the good times you had together, but by looking back, you can also begin to look forward.
Take as much time as you need to think about the following questions and write your responses in the space provided.

Name of your loved one:

What three words best describe your loved one?

What advice, quotes, or sayings do you remember this person saying?

How did this person like to spend their time? What hobbies did they have? What places did they love to visit? What did you enjoy doing together?

What do you love or appreciate most about this person?

Think back over the gifts this person gave to you (including skills or life lessons they taught you). Which of these gifts means the most? Why is this gift so meaningful?

What are your favourite memories of the time you spent together?

In what ways have they helped you become the person that you are today?

Step 2: Adding memories to the Life Certificate

Now that you have spent some time recalling the memories that reflect your loved one and the special connection you had, it is time to add them to the Life Certificate. When you feel ready to do so, write the name or nickname of your loved one on the Life Certificate template.

Next, attach your favourite photograph – one that sums up this special person and your relationship with them. You might even wish to draw something that you feel represents your loved one.

Now, take as much time as you need to reflect on your responses to the questions above. From your answers, select your favourite stories and memories that characterize this person, your relationship with them, and what they mean to you.
The Life Certificate template has several blank boxes where you can write your selected memories. The memories you include in each box are entirely your choice, and the important thing is that you include details that are meaningful and capture what this person means to you.

Step 3: Reflection

• How does it feel to reflect on these special memories reflected on you? What do these feelings say about what is important to you?
• How does it feel to remember your loved one in this way?
• In what ways would they appreciate being honoured in this way?
• How would you describe the effect your loved one had on your life?
• What feelings, thoughts, or sensations are you experiencing right now?
• In what ways has this activity helped you remember your loved one?
• What did you find most helpful about completing this activity?

Life Certificate:

This Life Certificate honours the life of: _____________

Three words that best describe _____________ are:

Advice, quotes, and sayings to remember:

_____________ favourite ways to spend time:

What I appreciate most about _____________ is:

The gift that means the most to me is:

My favourite memory of _____________ is:

_____________ helped me become the person that I am today by:

Signed by: _____________

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