By Tracy Barbee.
Losing a love one, a job, or ending a relationship is never easy for anyone to experience, but as we continue to live, it will never fail that we will all experience some type of grief & loss in our life. The hurt and pain of the loss can feel overwhelming and unbearable; however, it is how we handle the loss that will make the difference in how we get through it in a healthy way. I have witnessed people handling grief & loss in one or more of the following four ways:
1. They get busy doing something. Have you ever noticed that there is that one relative that when someone past away they make all the arranges, make sure things are in place, and then maybe a week later they will go back to work and tell people they are “good?” These are the people that get busy with doing a lot of things to avoid thinking about the loss. However, one day whether it is six months later, one year later, or even five years later, the loss will need to be dealt with or it will impact them from having a healthy life.
2. They replace– This may come from when a person was little, and their parents told them when their pet died, or a friend was being mean to them not to worry because they could get another pet or find a better friend. You may also have seen people breakup with one person and immediately be in another relationship. This is what is called a rebound relationship. People replace with lots of different things whether it is with food, a person, drugs, alcohol, etc… This will also need to be dealt with because it will impact someone’s life in an unhealthy way like staying busy.
3. They isolate, shut down, & shut out– This person does not allow anyone to comfort them and they don’t talk about their loss. They tell people they are fine; however, fine looks like not hanging out with friends, not answering the phone, sleeping a lot, or just feeling sick most of the time. This way of dealing with grief and loss can lead into major depressive disorder. This is not to say that staying busy and or replacing will not, but
this way of handling things will place a person quicker into dealing with some type of long-term mood disorder.
4. They allow themselves to grieve– People that allow themselves to grieve will talk to others about how they feel & what they think about their loss. They will take time to morn their loved one and perhaps they will get into grief & loss counseling if necessary.
The healthiest way to grieve out of all four is the fourth one. This is not to say a person quickly forgets about their grief or loss, but they have developed healthy coping strategies to maintain a healthy mental life.
In order to help someone deal with what they make be experiencing when it comes to loss & grief, here are some Do’s & Don’ts:
See what needs to be done and do it.
Bring over food.
Give a hug instead of trying to say something
Say, “I do not know how you feel, but I am here for you.”
Say nothing to the person, just be with the person
After a while, suggest counseling
Do not say, “How can I help you?” (Most times if something is fresh, they don’t know how you can help.)
Do not say “It is going to be alright.”
Do not say “Be strong.”
Do not say, “They are in a better place.”
Do not say, “I know how you feel.”
Do not say, “Aren’t you over him or her yet?”