BEING open about your feelings and allowing yourself time to recover are the key to overcoming grief, a leading expert has said.
This week marks National Grief Awareness Week with events planned across the UK to raise awareness of an often under-discussed issue.
In an additional bid to help, counsellor and author Lynn Crilly, who supports a lot of people through these dark moments, has today shared nine tips on how to best deal with grief when it strikes.
It comes as her daughter Samantha, the author of Hope Through Poetry, releases a new poem in a further attempt to spread awareness.
Lynn said: “Grief impacts us all. But it impacts us all in different ways. When I lost my Aunty ten years ago, I felt a pain I had never experienced before, I guess you could call it a broken heart or heartache.
“It took me many months if not years to accept her not being around, but as they say with time I have created a new normal, the bad days became fewer, and while I miss her terribly I have found myself again.
“Sometimes I felt guilty for smiling or laughing, but I know she would have wanted that for me which has helped with the bereavement process and to move on. So too has keeping her memory alive and remembering special days and anniversaries with the happy memories I have. There are things you can do to help get you through.”
POEM BY SAMANTHA CRILLY:
With Angels you fly
I gaze up at the birds as they pass on by
touching the rims of heaven beyond the sky
Shoulder to shoulder with angels you fly
I know now I can smile without having to justify
Being ok without you, because I know you would want me to,
Still laugh every day and flourish in every way,
I had always held the burden of your absence in my mind
Something you would have so wanted me to leave behind
Even though it pains me to do so, I know I have to let go
keeping all the wonderful memories of us together
Gifts I now know will stay with me forever
Sharing her next practical steps, Lynn said:
- Allow yourself to feel emotion: If you feel emotional or sad, let these feelings out, do not be afraid to cry, as crying can help to release emotions. If you feel angry or resentful…. that’s ok, let the anger out in a safe way such as hitting a punch bag or cushion … try not to bottle it up which can be easier said than done, especially if you are supporting others as well as trying to deal with your own grief.
- Talk about the Person: Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died. Whilst they may not be here physically, they are still very much present in your mind and with others too. It is important to keep their memory alive, with stories, memories and just talking about them. This can be painful to start with but by not doing so can leave you feeling isolated and alone with your grief.
- Take Care of Yourself: Taking care of yourself as much as possible is so important to how you deal with your loss. Try to eat good food regularly, getting some fresh air and gentle exercise along with sleep (or if trouble sleeping rest) can all help with this.
- Talk about your feelings: Talk to someone that you trust about your feelings, such as a family member, close friend or partner. If you do not feel able to confide in anyone there are also helplines with dedicated people at the other end ready to listen.
- Avoid ‘short term’ fixes: Sometimes to block out the pain and how you are feeling, people can turn to alcohol and drugs to make them feel better or numb the feelings, while these may help temporarily, they are not the long-term answer and can cause further issues of their own.
- Keep a Routine: It is easy to feel lost and not wanting to do anything when you are grieving, but by keeping a routine and doing normal everyday things it can help to distract you even if for a short while.
- Stay in touch with people: I know myself it is so easy to withdraw from the world and not speak to anyone, but making the effort with the right people that understand where you are can help you to stay connected and get through each day.
- Time: The saying goes ‘Time is the greatest healer’ and I have to agree with this. Losing someone close to you is incredibly hard, and life is not the same especially if you lived with them, so it is essential not to expect too much from yourself too quickly, allow yourself whatever time and space you need and please don’t feel guilty about it is essential to the healing process.
- Remember those special dates and occasions: Everyone will have their own memories unique to the person they have lost, but if you can don’t lose those special dates and thoughts, whether is going to a favourite place, bench or even sitting with a cup of tea somewhere, by doing this with help to keep their memory alive.