By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Surviving the loss of a loved one

Almost all of us have suffered from the loss of a family member or friend at some point in our lives. In the wake of a loved one’s death, the feeling of emptiness and despair that grabs a hold of you can be absolutely overwhelming.

It’s perfectly normal and expected of you to enter a dark period of mourning and sorrow following the death of a loved one.

Unfortunately, some of us find ourselves trapped in a never-ending cycle of depression after a devastating loss. Eventually, we have to take steps to move on with our lives. That’s why it’s important to understand the steps of healthy grieving process. By facing grief head on and intentionally moving through the following emotional benchmarks, you can emerge hopeful and emotionally fit at the other side. 

Accept that your loss is real
When you lose a loved one, your first knee-jerk reaction may be to deny the loss altogether. This denial can range anywhere from simply downplaying the loss and pretending that it’s no big deal to actually believing the person is still alive. 

Much like a child, we would rather convince ourselves that the situation is not real rather than actually face our emotions. Therefore, the first step you must take is to simply accept that this loss is real and your loved one is gone forever.

Let your emotions flow
Once you accept your loss, you may try to be “strong” by holding your emotions inside. You may throw yourself into work or personal projects in attempt to distract yourself from the sorrow. You may even try to “numb” the pain of loss with alcohol or drugs.

Bottling up your emotions not only prolongs the grieving process, but it can be extremely unhealthy, both emotionally and physically. You have to allow yourself to experience the pain of your loss. Although this is not an easy task, it’s a critical step in a healthy healing process. 

Learn how to live without your loved one
Perhaps one of the most difficult things about losing a loved one is adjusting to life without that person. This crushing realization doesn’t hit many people until months after their loss.

Because our loved ones shape our lifestyle, it’s easy to think that our lives will never be the same again after they are gone. Your life may feel empty without the loved one you lost—especially if that person was your spouse or best friend. However, by coming to this realization, you will likely be inspired to fill the void in your life. This may encourage you to explore new friendships and relationships—another important step toward emotional wellness.

Safeguard your memories and move on
It’s important to find a safe place in your heart for the memories and love you have for your passed loved one. Remember—just because your loved one is no longer with you physically, that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to love him or her. The beloved memories you have of your loved one will remain with you throughout your days. 

Even years after their death, you may feel a twinge of pain at the thought of a loved one. This is perfectly normal, and you should allow yourself to feel that sadness. However, it’s important to learn how to cherish memories of your loved one without allowing them to send you plummeting into despair.

When a memory of your passed loved one enters your mind, you may try to “send up” a loving thought to them in return. Not only will this offer you some comfort in times of sadness, but it will also give you the strength to continue moving forward in your life.

Turn to Tim Stewart Funeral Home for support
If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one, we at Tim Stewart Funeral Home want to help you discover new hope.  Please us at (770) 962-3100.