Grief is a natural response to the pain of losing a loved one. Sometimes, you think you have fully recovered from the overwhelming sadness, but the truth is, grief just sits there quietly. When reminders of your loved one suddenly come up—say your anniversary song plays over the speakers at a random place or whenever their birthday comes around—feelings of grief come rushing again.
The return of grief does not necessarily mean it’s a hindrance to the healing process. In fact, it’s a signal that the memory of your loved one is still alive in you. Get through these painful times with greater strength by knowing precisely what to expect. This will help make coping with the reminders of loss much easier.
Reminders Can be Anywhere
Some reminders are simply unavoidable. These can come in the form of birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays. Feelings of grief may resurface when family members come together to celebrate this special occasions.
Certain sights, sounds or smells may also send overwhelming emotions. You may feel sudden sadness when your kid’s favourite Disney song comes up or when you eat that bar of chocolate your late husband gave you on your first date.
The first step in coping with reminders of loss is recognising it’s normal. The tendency for most people when they suddenly feel down is to suppress the emotion. Don’t hide it. Don’t suppress the memories, either. Reminisce the relationship with your loved one. Immortalise their memory by sharing their story to others. Experts from Centenary Memorial Gardens suggest gathering family and friends in a chapel service to honour the memory of the deceased.
Another way to cope with grief is by starting a new tradition. You can launch a charitable organisation under your loved one’s name or donate to an advocacy they have a passion for. You may also want to commit planting a tree in their honour. You can do this in celebration of say, your anniversary or the deceased’s birthday.
A strong support system is important in these times. Find someone who will encourage you to express your emotions. Other than family and friends, spiritual leaders and social groups can help. A grief support group can certainly help in the healing process and remind you that you are never alone.
Grief doesn’t go away quickly. Overwhelming sadness is possible even years after the loss, and it is easy to feel like you will never recover. The feeling is normal and it says a lot about how much you value the life of the loved one lost. With support from people and willingness to let go, though, you can come out from the painful process stronger than ever.