Nothing is easy when you lose a loved one. It’s even hard to talk about it. Don’t feel that you have to hold it in to show that you’re strong. It’s OK to let it out. You’re only human. Stress can hit anyone at any time for a number of reasons. It can be from things like lack of sleep, poor diet, anxiety, and lack of personal care.
Is there a right way to Grieve?
Grief is a normal response to losing a loved one and can be expressed both physically and emotionally. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone mourns in their own way at their own pace. It’s good to talk about it. Grief may never go away completely, but for most people it will usually become less intense as you come to terms with how your life has changed.
Following a loved one’s death, caregivers may feel a sense of “relief” since the stress and demand for care are no longer there. This feeling of “relief” can turn to a guilty feeling fast.
A family caregiver’s identity can also become wrapped up within the daily demands of caregiving. You may feel no longer needed since you are left without someone to care for. You may wonder, “How do I move on? What’s next in my life?“
Feelings of Loneliness
Caregiving is a demanding role that calls for sacrifice from every part of life, especially socially. As family caregivers focus more on their caregiving duties, their social connections often become less and less frequent, sometimes coming to a complete stop. This may leave the person they are caring for the only primary form of social interaction for the caregiver. After their passing, a greater sense of loneliness can be evident as the last remaining social connection in their life is gone.
Feelings of Grief
The responses of denial, fear, anger, guilt, depression, frustration, and social withdrawal are all normal stages one finds them self in when a loved one passes. Don’t think that this can only happen to you. Know that people will feel uncomfortable when approaching you, especially when they know you are grieving. Many people don’t know what to say. Thank them. Don’t be afraid to open up and just talk about it. It might be good for both of you.
How to Help Someone Who is Grieving?
Don't force them to share feelings if they don't want to. Acknowledge that everyone experiences grief in their own way. Be there in the future, when friends and family have all gone back to their normal routines.
Accepting the New Reality
One thing we haven’t talked about is acceptance. This is a new reality. This is where the sense of healing starts or “moving on,” as they say, begins. The important thing is for you to take care of yourself. Eat right and exercise, even if it’s only taking a walk to collect your thoughts. Getting support from family, friends, and even grief groups can help. If there were hospice services provided, ask them who to talk to. If there wasn’t any hospice, you can still reach out to a local company for answers. But you have to talk to someone.
About the Author
Scot Cheben is a caregiver and the co-founder of Senior Providers Network. Senior Providers Network is a Specialized Employee Benefit dedicated to helping businesses and their employees who are faced with navigating the difficulties of providing care for an older loved one.