Four Steps to Grief Recovery
STEP ONE — Talk About Your Loss
What you have just experienced could be one of the most traumatic events of your life. If you feel depleted, depressed or angry, you are normal. And the most important thing you can do to reduce the pain is talk about your loss. You may get the message from family and friends, that you are abnormal or should be over your loss, so you may need to seek out other listeners. People you know who have had a similar loss are usually the most helpful, although empathetic family and friends can be as helpful. Support groups are a great place to talk. And, counselors can be wonderful sources for short-term grief therapy.
STEP TWO — Read books and stories of people who have experienced a similar loss
In this society, we have very little, if any, experience of normal grief. The most common reaction most people have is that they feel they are going crazy. By reading other’s words, they find out they are normal, their actions are normal and their thoughts are normal. It is usually very comforting and reassuring. These stories also give you the idea of what your journey will be like and how long it will take. This helps reduce the paralyzing fear you may feel. And finally, stories offer encouragement. You know others have made it through grief and that helps give you the strength to continue on your personal journey.
STEP THREE — Write about your thoughts and feelings
By getting your thoughts and feelings on paper, they become less vague and more concrete. They become easier to deal with and usually less frightening. Sometimes you may feel like you are going in circles and not getting any better. By writing, you will be able to see your progress. We suggest you make a diary. As time goes on you will probably write less and less frequently, showing your pain is lessening. Writing is also a great substitute when you feel you need to talk, but no one is available – like late at night.
STEP FOUR — Exercise your body
Bereavement is the most stressful life event. To handle this stress and keep it from building up in your body, you need to do some form of body work. This could mean walking or playing tennis or it could mean refinishing furniture or hitting a pillow or punching bag. It is a great way to release your anger in a constructive way. Studies have shown that bereavement lowers your body’s immune system and exercise helps combat that effect.
People who are grieving want to get better, but often don’t know
where to begin. The goal is not to “get over” the loss but rather
to integrate it with other life events. Although there are no
formulas which guarantee the resolution of grief, the following
exercises have helped many bereaved people regain control of their
lives and, eventually, make peace with their loss.
Adapted from: What To Do When Someone Dies
Buz Overbeck – Joanie Overbeck
TLC Group – Dallas, TX 1995