If you have lost a loved one, no matter in which circumstances or how long ago it was, chances are high you will need a coping mechanism to deal with your emotions. If this is where you are right now, we made a list of things that can help you go through this challenging time.
This one might seem obvious to you, but think again. When is the last time you actually talked about this deeply with someone you trust? After a few weeks, a few years, we still miss the people we lost, but we don’t necessarily talk about it anymore. The benefits of talking can be tremendous, it can make you feel heard, loved, and understood. It can also be wonderful just to talk about the person you lost, as it brings you closer to them. So grab a cup of tea and start thinking about who would warmly welcome what you have to say.
We won’t lie, this one may make you quite emotional. But in the end, is the way you are dealing with your emotions right now “emotionless”? The fact that emotions are cooped up in the bottom of a drawer doesn’t make them less real. By writing a letter to the loved one you lost, you are expressing something that needs to get out there. Like a fever that needs to happen for your body to recover in the end. After you wrote this letter, you can keep it somewhere in your house, or you can bring it to the resting place of this person, or somewhere special you used to go to together. You can also burn it, if that’s what you feel like doing. The letter doesn’t need to be long or well-writen. If you think “I don’t have anything to say and I’m not a good writer”, don’t worry. Take a paper and a pen, we are 100% sure you will have something to write.
PS: if you still need inspiration, try answering those questions: What do I feel in my body when I think of you? If you were there, what would I say to you right now?
It doesn’t matter if you feel that you have “talent” or not. This piece of art is not destined to be sold at Sotheby’s; rather, it can help you feel what you need to feel in a profound and fun way at the same time. You may be surprised by this, but grief doesn’t need to be sad. Grief can take many forms, and happiness and joy can also be part of grief. If you don’t feel it yet, try creating some art, and you should at least feel some sense of satisfaction once it’s done. The piece of art could be anything: a pottery, a drawing, a collage, and if you already have some skill, it can also be a dance, a painting, or even a small poem or haiku! You can do this completely on your own, or go to any local workshop. You don’t need to have a specific concept planned out, just think about this person when you are creating, and it should help you already.
Depending on the way the person you cared about died, there are many ways you can transform your grief into positive energy. This is how the Alan Ghitis Association was created! You can run a community group locally to help other people and share the pain. You can raise funds or give money to a charity that already exists and that feels close to your heart. You can create your own association or charity. You can write a book or a song that describes your experience. Basically, the skills you would usually use for your professional life, you can also use to channel your grief. Does it spark any ideas? We hope so!
Here is Niky, Alan Ghiti’s mother, on the bench she had installed facing the mountains.
It comes down to this: what do you like to do? What brings you joy? We know that by reading those lines you may think “This person that I lost brought me joy”. Of course. Yet it’s important to think about now, in the present, in this very moment, today: what do you feel you need to do to take care of yourself? The love you have for this person will stay with you no matter what. So taking care of yourself is completely aligned with the fact that this person is still with you in your heart. If you are in need of inspiration, depending on your personality and circumstances, here are a few things you could do to take care of yourself: take a bath, exercise, cook a nice meal or go to a restaurant, get a haircut, plan a vacation, read a book, watch a movie, call a friend, take a walk, listen to music, meditate…There is no right or wrong activity to take care of yourself, just allow yourself this moment and you are already halfway there.
We hope this gave you some ideas to navigate your grief. You won’t always be able to “do something about it” and sometimes you just need a good cry, or actually forget about it for a minute. All those emotions are valid. We just want to point out that, even if you are usually a shy, or introverted, or private person, and you don’t usually talk about your feelings, in this very specific instance, expressing yourself can help. As you can see, we suggested many ways to express yourself, and talking is only one of them. We wish you all the best.