The choice not to grieve, is unfortunately, not ours to make. No matter how wealthy, famous or happy we are, grief will hit us squarely in the face many times during the course of our lives.
As we get older, we’re bound to lose people who’ve meant a great deal to us for a very long time. The first of these people to go are usually our parents. How do we cope with this loss and rebuild our lives while nurturing this immense pain inside our hearts? Here are some workable suggestions.
Last year when I received a phone call in the middle of the night informing me that my 64-year-old mother had been mowed down in the street and killed, my ability to function barricaded itself in a secret compartment somewhere in the depths of my mind.
Having 3 small children whose lives I wanted to continue as routinely as was possible under the circumstances, I had to be able to pick myself up and function despite my grief. I had to quickly teach myself ways to cope in order to emerge the other side of disaster with a measure of sanity still intact.
1. Give yourself a few days to pine
No matter how alone we think we are, at the time of tragedy or death (or both at the same time) there will always be people around to take over for a while. Even if we have no siblings or close relatives at hand, there’s always the neighbours, work colleagues, church members, kids friends’ parents, in-laws (ex or not), who will selflessly rush to our aid.
They may not be able to take on our responsibilities for an indefinite period, but will do their best at least for the first few days that follow. Allow them to take over, because in your state of shock, they can function a hundred times better than you could. They’ll also be able to remain strong and objective enough to push their weight to get vital tasks accomplished, things you may not be able to get done, even under normal circumstances. Let them have the kids, do the shopping, get food, make the necessary arrangements etc., and give yourself the time to cry, not wash, look at pictures, scream or whatever it takes. Do not feel guilty for doing this, because not allowing yourself this necessary time to get over your initial shock is very bad for your future peace of mind and mental health.