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Understanding Grief: Why It Takes Time to Heal

June 15th, 2023

The loss of a loved one can be one of life’s most painful and profound experiences. The void that’s left behind when a close friend or family member dies often seems insurmountable. The coping process can seem all-consuming, but you can find light again. The journey to healing is unique to each individual, but one thing stands true for everyone: it takes time. You must be patient with yourself.

Accept and Embrace Your Grief

Though grief is sadly an inevitable part of life, navigating the path to healing can feel impossible and overwhelming, and filled with every possible emotion. At first, you may be in denial that a loved one is gone. It may be difficult for your brain to process the loss of someone close to you. Knowing that someone was here one minute, then suddenly gone forever, is understandably confusing.

Give yourself grace and time to absorb this loss. When you’re flooded with emotions, acknowledge each and every one. Let yourself feel the anger, the desire to bargain with your loss, the depression and sadness, and even the guilt of feeling relief when someone has suffered from a long illness. As painful as these feelings may be, they will lead you on the path to acceptance and healing.

Create Connections with Others

It’s vital to lean on others for support during your time of bereavement. Reach out to friends and family, and find support groups that will give you a safe space to mourn and express your feelings. Listening to others share their stories of grief and sharing yours can help you heal. There is power in numbers and shared experiences. Seeking out a professional grief counselor can also be beneficial.

Honor Your Loved One

Finding ways to remember and honor the memory of your loved one can be a powerful part of the healing process. Just because they aren’t here physically anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t still with you. Celebrate their birthday, write letters to tell them about your day or how much they’re missed, or visit favorite places filled with shared memories. You can even create a memorial garden or make a memento box.

Take Care of Yourself

Grief can take a toll on you both mentally and physically, so make your own mental health and self-care a priority during this time. Create a daily routine that requires you to go outside for fresh air and exercise, eat meals that nourish your body and stay hydrated. These seemingly simple tasks may feel daunting at first, but tending to yourself will help make you mentally and physically stronger to process your loss.

Recognize Your Purpose

As you heal, it’s natural to ponder the meaning of life and why things happen. Reflect on your values and what makes you, you. Remember the joy and fulfillment you bring to other’s lives as well as your own. Explore new ways to expand your horizons and build stronger relationships with others. Try volunteering, exploring new hobbies and making time to connect with friends old and new.

Change and Grow

The grieving process takes time. How long? It’s different for everyone. Change itself is hard, and it’s harder when that change is due the loss of a loved one. Lean into your journey and take advantage of new opportunities. Be open to new experiences, people, insights and perspectives.


Keeping Memories Alive

Healing from loss is not linear. The grieving process is deeply personal and transformative. Allow yourself time, patience and compassion. Healing doesn’t mean forgetting about someone you love. Rather, it’s about integrating their loss into your life while finding a new way to live with the memories you’ll always carry with you.

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