Here at GetUrns, we want to do everything we can to ease the pain of losing a loved one. That’s why we constantly strive to provide grief literature for people to read when they need more information on cremation, death, or funerals. However, we haven’t yet explored the root of what all these articles are based on: grief.
What is Grief?
Grief can be characterized as that ever present emotional pain that comes with loss. Loss of a loved one, an animal companion, a job, a house, a friendship, etc.
In this case, we’re exploring grief in the context of loss as a result of death. Death can be sudden, shocking, even traumatic to the surviving loved ones. With the (un)expected loss of a family member or friend can come a myriad of emotions both positive and negative.
Sadness at their absence. Happiness with their memory. Shock at the unforeseen. Turmoil with the result. Frustration with the tediousness of funeral arrangements. Anger at the audacity of death to come when it did. Relief that they won’t suffer anymore. Nostalgia of conversations, inside jokes, smiles, hugs, laughter.
Grief is a heavy thing, it can be all consuming and incredibly oppressive, leaving people struggling to continue on. For most people, the intensity of these emotions does eventually fade and they come out of grief relatively easily with a proper support system, healthy choices, and ample time to come to terms with the experienced loss.
Although it’s generally understood that there is no definite timeline for how long it can take a person to recover from grief, for some, grief can seem to last far too long and begin to show signs of impeding their life and wellbeing. When the sadness starts to cloud a person’s mood and behavior to the point of concern, this is known as Complicated Grief.
Complicated grief is essentially a prolonged period of sadness that doesn’t fade and can actually get worse with time. This type of severe emotion can greatly affect a person’s mental, physical, and social state. It is also usually accompanied by depression, anxiety, sleep problems, substance abuse, and difficulty with daily tasks.
Complicated grief doesn’t have a standardized time frame for diagnosis but many professionals will diagnose when symptoms of grief persist beyond 12 months.
Professional treatment of CG includes psychotherapy in which the grieving person can discuss their grief, coping skills, and emotions regarding the deceased. This therapy can be done individually or in a group format and can be paired with medication prescribed by a medical professional if it comes to that. Professional help is crucial once grief starts to affect a person’s general life and can be very beneficial with helping the person move on. [Find a psychologist in your area here]
It isn’t easy to recover from the death of a loved one, complicated grief or not. Grief is insidious and can work its way deep inside the heart of a grieving person so they feel as if they won’t ever stop feeling this way. There does come a time when that overwhelming emotion will fade to the point where moving on is finally possible. Proper coping mechanisms can make this process easier to achieve.
~Seek The Company Of Others~
It’s always important to maintain a proper support system so social withdrawal doesn’t happen. Isolating oneself in times of immense grief can lead to increasingly negative thoughts. [If you or anyone you know start to have suicidal thoughts or tendencies please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255]
~Talk To People~
As difficult as it may be to hold company when feeling this way, expressing these emotions to others can help a person work through them in a productive manner. Conversation allows for these feelings to be released so they don’t stay inside and fester into more negativity.
~Practice Self Care~
Exercise, keep a stable sleep schedule, eat well. Keeping oneself feeling physically well really helps with bettering mood and decreasing fatigue.
Turning to productive and healthy hobbies can really help improve mental state even when dealing with something as difficult as grief. Journaling, socializing, exercise, cooking may seem rather simple but can genuinely improve a person’s mood and spirit.
We’re Here To Help
Grief is a very difficult thing to move past, here at GetUrns, we hope to help with this pain of losing a loved one by being a resource people can turn to for more information on death and death practices. Please take a look at our blog for more positive words or assistance.