Managing grief – it’s 180 degrees from celebration, the opposite of joy, the last single thing we want to do on any given day. Different cultures manage grief differently and no two people take the same journey. We discovered this the hard way when we lost our son, Eric, last year. When someone is a part of your life, a part of your soul, there’s a simple reality you have to face when they’re no longer with you: find a way to manage grief or it will ultimately consume you.
We have no delusions that our process for managing the grief following Eric’s death are different than anyone else’s. We feel, however, that it’s the element of celebration our family’s chosen to put back into the grieving process that allows us to move forward and see the sunrises over the horizon instead of just the sunsets.
We wanted to share a list of the things that have helped us the most during the grieving process in the hopes that they might help you or someone you love when faced with the unthinkable. Managing grief isn’t necessarily about death – it’s about opening a new chapter of your life that’s different than the last. It’s a chapter in which you can carry memories and use them to brighten your future. We hope you’ll see things the same way.
Grief Management Tip 1: Loss is Loss
Whether you’ve lost a job, a family pet or a loved one, loss is loss. We don’t always respond rationally. Have compassion for those around you dealing with loss or even the same loss as you’re currently experiencing. Think before you speak, hug before you slug. Everyone in the equation is missing the same thing, though some may be closer to the loss than others.
Grief Management Tip 2: People are People
While we all may tie our shoes in a similar fashion, it’s the beauty of human nature that we all find different ways to accomplish exactly the same task. No two people manage grief in exactly the same way. While you may prefer to be alone, others may crave the company of friends and family. Your brother might get angry. You may prefer quiet contemplation. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief, but be on the lookout for those in your life, including you, who might let it bring about a self-destruction.
Grief Management Tip 3: Isolation vs. Companionship
If you or someone you love chooses a more solitary approach to managing grief, don’t undervalue the importance of the occasional check-in from loved ones and friends. Another beauty of humankind is that we all see things differently. Letting someone in during your time of need could be just the set of eyes you need to help you manage grief and move on in your own way.