An Open Letter to those that are Grieving
I know it feels like it may never get better. You just lost someone deeply important to you. Them and your loss are all you think about. This is normal. Do something kind for yourself.
I know you may be having thoughts like, “what is wrong with me, why can’t I just get over it?” The people in your life may have moved on, but you’re still left with the pain. The pain that you feel is normal, it shows that you loved. A self-compassion practice can help.
I know you may feel alone. In the first month or so, everyone is there for you. You feel supported, but the check ins have now slowed. People still care and you are not alone. Make sure to reach out to the support systems in your life; let them know how you’re doing.
I know it feels like you may never get through the holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. Things will be forever different, and those days are a reminder that your loved one is gone. This takes getting used to; the first few are the hardest. Think of a way to honour your loved one on these days.
I know that you may have moments of happiness or excitement in your daily life. When this happens, you may feel guilty because “how can you be happy when your loved one isn’t here anymore?” These moments are important; embrace them, your loved one would want you to. You’ve suffered enough.
I know that you may be feeling increased anxiety. The unthinkable just happened, so how could you not be on high alert? This is a normal response. Your mind is trying to protect you from experiencing this hurt again, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t find relief.
I know that your moods may feel up and down. One day you’re feeling okay or at peace, the next you’re heartbroken, angry, lost or confused. Grief comes in waves. This is normal.
Grief is a complex and deeply personal experience. It doesn’t follow any timeline or set of rules. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and your feelings are always valid.
During these times of sorrow, it's important to remember that you are not alone. Reach out to those around you – a compassionate friend or family member - and lean on them for support. Share your memories and express the pain that you are, of course, feeling.
As you navigate your grief, please be gentle with yourself. Understand that healing is a process, one that requires time, patience, and self-compassion. Allow yourself the space to mourn, remembering that healing doesn't mean forgetting, but rather finding a way to carry the memories of your loved one in a way that honours them. A way that helps you find meaning.
In the midst of the darkness that grief can bring, try to find moments of light – the shared laughter of friends, the warmth of a comforting embrace, or the solace found in nature's beauty. These glimpses of light won’t take away your pain, but they can serve as beacons of hope in the midst of the storm.
Remember, it's okay to seek professional help if you find your grief overwhelming. From someone who has personal and professional experience with grief, I would be honoured to sit with you on your grief journey. Know that you are not alone.
I offer individual counselling for adults and couples therapy in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Grief counselling is just one of the areas I specialize in.