5 Coping Strategies to consider in order to Grief Healthy
Dealing with the death of a child is one of the hardest challenges that you’ll ever face.
While the grieving process is different for everyone, there are 5 Coping Strategies that you can use to facilitate the healing process.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to face your pain alone as bereavement counselling and support groups are available to help you to cope.
1. Understand that grieving is an Individual process
Grieving is an extremely personal process. It’s important to remember that there is no correct or incorrect way to deal with the death of a child. Your partner may deal with their grief differently to you so you’ll need to respect each other’s ways of coping. Grieving is a slow journey towards healing and there is no normal timeline for this process. You’re likely to experience a range of emotions that come and go. Grieving is not a linear process and your healing journey may feel like a roller-coaster ride with many ups and downs along the way. Nothing will ever take the pain of losing a child away but dealing with your grief may help you to reach a place of acceptance where you can honour the memories of your child while carrying on with your life.
2. Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions
There are no right or wrong emotions when it comes to dealing with death. All your emotions are valid and it’s helpful to acknowledge how you’re feeling. You may experience feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, denial, hopelessness, guilt, exhaustion, fear and depression. Repressing your emotions is challenging and it can end up making you feel worse. Crying is a healthy response to grief so give yourself space to cry when you feel like it. However, crying is not the only reaction to death and if you don’t cry it doesn’t mean that you loved your child any less. Everyone has different ways of experiencing and showing their grief. Many people also experience numbness for short or extended periods. This may be experienced as disinterest in the activities that you previously enjoyed as well as a disconnection from your emotions and the world. If you don’t feel anything at all, it’s your body’s strategy of keeping you safe from overwhelming feelings. Just as there’s space for challenging emotions, as your healing journey progresses there’s also room for joy, laughter and hope when you feel ready.
3. Celebrate the life of your child
When you feel ready you can look for opportunities to celebrate the life of your child in a way that feels right for you. You may want to make a donation to a special charity in their honour. Creating a book with photos, artwork, stories and other mementos is a way of cherishing the time that you spent together. You may choose to plant a garden in memory of your child or to hold a memorial gathering.
4. Practice self care
Faced with the death of a child, you may find yourself forgetting to eat or drink. Remember to drink water and try to eat healthy meals, even if you find yourself eating a lot less. Grief puts strain on your body so it’s important to take care of these physical needs. Ask friends to deliver meals or find healthy takeaways in your area. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, try and implement a routine to promote relaxation before bedtime. Having a bath, listening to relaxing music, drinking chamomile tea and avoiding the use of electronic devices are all strategies that can help you to get a good night’s rest. Writing in a journal and taking part in activities that you enjoy are other self care practices that you may want to consider once you’re ready.
Reach out for some support that provides a safe space where you can explore all of your emotions while learning coping strategies support
Dealing with death can be an isolating experience that leaves you feeling completely alone. While it’s important to honour your need to be alone, spending time with supportive friends and family can help to facilitate the healing process. Many people want to provide support to grieving families but don’t know how so it’s useful to express your needs to them clearly. Some friends and family may be better at providing you with emotional support while others may be better suited to dealing with practical concerns. Even if you have friends and family around, you may find that your loved one’s are uncertain of how to console you or they may be afraid that they’ll say the wrong thing. If you don’t have anyone to talk to joining a support group will enable you to build new friendships with other people who are also dealing with death. Look for a support group in your area to get the care that you need to heal.
5. Consider bereavement counselling
Bereavement counselling provides you with the support that you need to cope with the death of a child. Counselors are trained to use various methods of treatment to facilitate the healing process. Dealing with death is a painful experience and a counsellor can help you with Bereavement counselling.