Everyone will experience a loss at some point in their lives; many already have. If you or your partner have lost a loved one, you know what a tumultuous time that can be. Grief is defined as a “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there are 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining (”what if’s” and “if only’s”), Depression, and Acceptance. Most people will go through some or all of these stages at some point during the grief process. However, we differ in how quickly we get through it, and it is not necessarily in the same order. It is important to acknowledge that your partner is going through a very difficult time, it is your job to help them through it. The following are some suggestions that might help your family during this time.
- Commemorate the day by doing something special in honor of your loved one. For example, do some gardening and plant a tree or rose bush. As it continues to grow and flourish, you will be reminded of your loved one.
- Journal. Spend some time writing out your feelings about what this day means to you and what emotions you are experiencing. Getting things out of our head and off our chest is very powerful.
- Look at pictures or watch videos that include your loved ones. This may have been a hard thing to do immediately following their deaths, but as time moves on, you will find comfort in seeing their faces and hearing their voices.
- If you are a religious person, attend Church or Synogouge services. This can help you feel closer, spiritually, to your loved one, as well as offer community support.
- Surround yourself with support. As much as you may want to be alone at this time, try to spend some time with family and friends. Even better, together you can remember your loved one by having a fun meal, going out, or doing something else that the person you are remembering would have enjoyed.
- Allow yourself to feel. Cry, yell, whatever. Just don’t ignore your feelings or try to push them aside — welcome all of the emotions, and honor them.
- Lastly, if you feel you just can’t seem to get through the loss, or if you need some extra support, consider seeing a grief counselor or joining a grief support group.