Begin to Ease the Pain When Someone Dies
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When someone you care about dies, it can seem as if your pain is never-ending. Wave after wave of emotions can flood you, whether or not you show this to the outside world.

Nothing, of course, can take away all the pain. Nor, does the old adage that time heals all wounds work. You have suffered a loss and it is important you honor that loss through grieving until you can place that person in a special place in your heart -- where every time you think about her it won't always be about her death. Eventually, you'll be able to think of more good times, more pleasant memories. That's tough right now, though, because the hurt is so fresh and you are extremely vulnerable.

There are some things you can do today that will help you begin to ease your own suffering.

1. Give yourself a break. Some days it is okay just to function enough to get through the day. Lower your expectations of yourself. Don't take on big projects and don't feel guilty if you don't accomplish the small ones.

2. It is a time for deep, intensive nurturing. Although you may have many tasks related to the death, it is crucial that you get time away from that. Quiet time alone, or a trip to the movies can give you a little respite.

3. Forget about society's programming that you should be through with your grieving in two weeks and then can go back to work. Grieving someone you love is a life long process, although it won't continue at the same intensity it is now. Years from now a song may play or you may have a memory triggered that will flood you with pain and feelings of intense loss or sadness that you no longer have that loved one available. It could be at what you would consider one of your happiest moments, such as the graduation of a child, yet you intensely feel the loneliness of not being able to share that event with your own parent, spouse or friend who has died. That doesn't make you crazy or abnormal. It is life's natural course. Acknowledge the loss, the feelings and bring your loved one closer to you by lighting a candle in their memory, or some other positive ritual during the celebrations.

4. Professional counseling and grief groups can be especially helpful at any time during your grief process. Always seek professional counseling if you find yourself becoming increasingly depressed, continue to have difficulty in accomplishing daily tasks or work, feel overly anxious, hopeless or suicidal.

5. Although many people resist, it really can help to write to the person who has died. This releases emotions you may not have recognized existed. You may cry, you may be angry -- whatever you feel is okay. You will probably feel some freedom and release once you have written the person who has passed away, and may want to continue to do this.

6. Remove yourself from the chaos of others. Unfortunately, deaths bring out the best and worst of people. Be true to yourself and stand up for your needs, but otherwise try and move out of the spin of others who become out of control. It is enough for you to focus on your needs right now.

7. Eat whether you want to or not, and monitor how much you eat. Loss is one of the leading causes for the development of weight problems and eating disorders. If you'd like more information on that, read Chapter Seven, Owning Your Hidden Losses in "Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions."

8. Sleeping too little or too much is not unusual during this time, but be aware it can be a sign of depression. You may need the help of a professional to get through this period and get back into a normal rest period. Sometimes people who have trouble sleeping find if they don't fight it and just stay up through one night, it can jolt their sleep process back into a normal cycle. Don't take sleeping aids without your doctor's input, as these can be habit forming. You've gone through a shock, even if your loved one had a long-term illness. Most folks are never totally prepared for the intensity or finality of the loss. Listen to your body and give yourself permission to take naps.

9. Finally, say a prayer for yourself and accept the help and support of others. You deserve to be nurtured and cared for during this troubled time.

Brenda Crawford-Clark, LMHC, LMFT, NCC
Author: Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions 
ęCopyright 2001 Brenda Crawford-Clark