It can often feel as if you are all alone and that no one understands what you are going through but there are others who have been through the same ordeal and completed their journey to recovery. Those who have also lived through the death of a loved one have some encouraging words of comfort for you.
You are not alone
Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but all your feelings are normal. Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy – you are in mourning. Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself. It’s okay to express it. Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts. You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Guilt can turn into regret through forgiveness. Remember, the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence in another’s life.
Give yourself permission to get professional help. Be aware of the pain of your family and friends. Know you can survive. You may not think so, but you can. Give yourself time to heal. Be patient with yourself and with others who may not understand. Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.
Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until you are satisfied with partial answers. Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk. Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing. Know that there are support groups that can be helpful. If not, ask a professional to help start one.
Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece. Try to put off major decisions. Set your own limits and learn to say no. Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how you feel. Call on your personal faith to help you.
It is common to experience physical reactions to grief, such as headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep. Wear out your questions, anger, guilt or other feelings until you can let them go. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.
The willingness to laugh with others and at yourself is healing.