We all have to experience bereavement; it is an unfortunate fact of life. The thought of preparing for the loss of a loved one can seem like an impossible situation, but there are things you can do that may help you and give you strength during this time.
You never know how you are going to respond to the news that you are going to lose someone close to you. The most important thing to understand is that this is your journey; don’t compare yourself to others or how you think you should be. Your grief is an individual experience. You may feel any number of things including anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite. Your body and mind are under a great amount of stress, so accept these are all normal things to go through.
You want to be strong for your loved one during this time, but remember you also need to look after yourself as well. Seek support where you can and consider the following advice that may help you cope:
Letting all your family and close friends know the situation will make sure that they are able to say their goodbyes if they wish. It will also help them to be sensitive to your feelings around this difficult time, so they can offer help and be there for you. You do not need to try to be strong and do this alone; use your support network.
You should try and spend as much time as you can with your loved one, but also be conscious of their wishes as perhaps they may wish for some time alone. You may feel like you want to bring up issues or regrets, do so carefully as their feelings are of the paramount importance. Even just being with them, discussing ‘normal’ things can be a great help to the both of you. Tell them you love them, discuss memories, you can even discuss their death if they wish to.
You may feel like this is the last thing you want to do, but it can be surprisingly therapeutic. It also gives you the opportunity to ask your loved one their wishes for songs, the service, and their remains. This makes the process easier when the time does come, as you will know exactly what they wanted.
Take time to yourself, you need space to grieve. Be prepared for the wide range of emotions you are going to go through. Seek help when you need it from family, friends, support groups, and therapists if required.
You are always going to feel underprepared when it comes to bereavement, just remember to be calm, present and express your love.
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