Grief is a collection of emotions that often come in waves. You might feel emotionally and mentally numb one day, and be overcome with rage and anger the next. Grief might make you do things that you wouldn’t otherwise do, like snap at your closest friends or walk out of the office without requesting time off. Grief doesn’t follow a timetable or a formula, and not everyone gains a sense of closure from the funeral service. The healthiest ways to cope with grief are to accept your emotions and to try to direct them in a way that causes the least damage.
Before the Death
When someone in your family has a terminal illness, you may experience anticipatory grief. This phenomenon isn’t as widely known or talked about as grief after a loss, and as a result it can be isolating. Talk to other family members about the problems you’re experiencing and ask how they’re coping with it. A terminal illness has a way of drawing family closer together. Make an effort to keep in closer contact with your family. Don’t hesitate to speak with a grief counselor if you think it might help you.
Immediately After the Death
Funeral customs may be comforting once your loved one is gone. Some people find that the tasks necessary to put a funeral service and reception together are pleasantly distracting. You should take as much time off work as you think you need, but you shouldn’t feel as though you must sit at home doing nothing—unless, of course, you’re sitting shiva . Keeping busy with minor tasks or distractions may get you through the initial grieving period.
During the Next Few Months
As time passes and you return to your usual routines, albeit without your loved one, it’s normal to experience recurrent emotions like anger, guilt, and disbelief. Try not to make any major life decisions, like quitting your job or buying a house, since you probably won’t be thinking rationally for a while. Instead, try to take care of your physical and mental health by exercising, eating well, and practicing mindfulness. Talk to your doctor if you feel like you can’t cope by yourself.
The funeral home professionals at Greenwood Memorial Park & Mortuary want you to know that you’re never alone in your grief. Our grief support services are available online to comfort you any time of the day or night. When it’s time to make funeral arrangements near San Diego, call us at (619) 701-6473 and we’ll walk you through every step of the process.