How to cope with grief and heal your pain
SAVOIR FAIRE - Mayenne Carmona (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2018 - 12:00am

November is just around the corner, which brings to mind All Souls Day and the Filipino tradition of honoring their dearly departed. 

Coping with the loss of someone we love is very challenging and oftentimes difficult. We have to resign ourselves to the fact that grief is a natural response to loss and could be very emotional. We should not be ashamed to grieve. The more significant the loss, the more difficult the process of getting over the grief. The pain could be so deep, which oftentimes results in depression setting in.

Coupled with depression is the loss of will to live. Trust me, I know how it feels as I have experienced significant losses and grieving in my life. 

Last year, my family was dealt a double whammy, which to this day we are struggling to accept.  We lost two beloved members of the family — our mother and brother — two months apart from each other.  What pained us deeply was the fact that both were not sick at the time of their demise.  

 Other than the fact that she was elderly (in her 90s), Mom was still dancing up until a week before she passed. Our brother, who was Mom’s soul mate, sank into deep depression and willed himself to die. Our good Lord granted his wish and mother and son are both united now in God’s heavenly kingdom. 

 We were not ready for both losses and it took us months to come to terms with our grief. We are a close-knit family, we talk to our parents and to each other on a daily basis so these two losses were a big blow to us. I think what kept us afloat was my father’s strength. He kept us together in our grief, continued our family tradition of attending Sunday Mass together and dinner at his home after, the home where we grew up in and lived till our adulthood. 

According to experts, “while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain which in time could ease the sadness and help us come to terms with our loss, find new meaning and move on.” 

There is no normal timetable for grieving. Depending on how significant the loss, the pain of loss will always gnaw at you and it will be up to you to either dwell on it and let it get you or put it aside and move on. According to the Hospice Foundation of America, the grieving process is like a roller coaster — full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  The ride tends to be rougher in the beginning and the lows may be deeper and longer. Even years after a loss, especially at special events like weddings or the birth of a child, a strong sense of grief may still be experienced.  

How to deal with the grieving process:  

1.  Acknowledge your pain.

2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.

3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.

4. Seek out support from people who care about you.

5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.

6. Recognize the difference between grief and depression. 

7. Acceptance:  be at peace with what happened ( from: helpguide.org/articles/Grief/coping)

All of the above are effective ways to cope with grief. I have my own personal tips: 

1.  Force yourself to accept invitations to socials. 

2. If you can afford it, go on a trip with a fun group of friends. 

3. Be prayerful and ask help from the Divine.  Join meditation classes. 

4. Exercise: go to the gym, learn a sport, brisk walk. Exercise releases happy hormones. 

5. Fall in love. 

6. Learn something new — a foreign language, cooking, Ikebana, study, dance. 

7. Beautify yourself. 

8. Do acts of kindness.  

These were ways I coped and kept me sane.

ALL SOULS DAY GRIEF HEALING
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