Tips for Letting Go of a Loved One While Keeping Them Close to Your Heart

By: David Tindall
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It’s never easy to let go of feelings of sadness and mourning after we’ve lost a loved one, and many people struggle with the mourning process. However, looking at death from a different perspective can often aid us in the grieving process, and help us to understand that death is simply a part of living.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when coping with grief and loss:

Get support

The most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people to bring you up when you’re feeling at your lowest. Even if you aren’t usually comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings, it’s important to do so when you’re grieving because sharing your loss makes the burden easier to carry.

Here are a few ways to find support after a loss:

  • Lean on family and friends. Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you. Even if you usually take pride in being self­sufficient, letting people in, talking about how you feel, and being honest with others about your grief will help you be honest with yourself, too, and expedite the grieving process.
     
  • Join a support group. Even when you’re surrounded by friends and family, grief can feel isolating. Share your pain with others who are experiencing similar losses can help, and often a bereavement support group can help you not feel so alone. Contact your local hospital, hospice, funeral home, or counseling center for information specific to your area.
     
  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor. There’s no shame in speaking to a medical professional about your emotions and struggles with loss. An experienced therapist or counselor can help you work through difficult emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.

Take care of yourself

When you’re grieving it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time, and will help you learn to cope with the memory of your loved one in a healthy way.

A few suggestions are:

  • Look after your physical health. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercising ­ even going for a long walk can help. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain.
     
  • Express your feelings in a tangible and creative way. Write about your loss in a journal, write your loved one a letter expressing how you feel, or make a scrapbook or album celebrating their life.
     
  • Face your feelings. It can be tempting to try and suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. Learning to face your grief head­on will help you learn to remember and think of your deceased loved one in a healthy, positive way.
     
  • Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, milestones, and holidays can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for this emotional hardship and know that it’s completely normal to feel sad around times that were important to you and your deceased loved one. Let yourself off the hook for feeling sad, and talk to relatives and friends about ways that you can honour your loved one’s memory on special days.

Everyone copes with death, loss and grief in different ways, but by taking care of yourself and finding special ways to honor your loved one, you will be able to let go of your grief and sadness while still keeping their memory safe in your heart.

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