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5 Things to Remember When You Are Grieving

Grieving the loss of a loved one after suffering a long illness in hospice is particularly heartbreaking. While hospice may have given you time to process the impending death and spend time with your parent, spouse or sibling, it’s still very difficult to move on from such a stressful time. You may have spent a lot of time not only caring for your loved one but sacrificing time with your own family. Being so busy all the time, only to be left with a gaping hole when your loved one dies can be yet another hill on your emotional roller coaster. To help, consider taking part in bereavement services in Santa Clara and elsewhere to help you make sense of the loss.

Let’s explore five things to remember when you are grieving. Many of these are things no one ever tells you about grief. It can be a touchy subject and uncomfortable for people to talk about. Nonetheless, keep these things in mind as you move throughout the stages of the grieving process.

1.  You may feel relief more than you feel sadness

This is especially true if your loved one suffered from a long-term illness, or if they had Alzheimer’s and were difficult to deal with on a daily basis. As a caregiver, you may feel relief even more than sadness once your loved one passes, says Psychology Today. You can now go out more without thinking “what if something happens to my husband while I’m out?”. You aren’t plagued with guilt any longer as you start to tend more to your own growing family instead. This is all very normal. In fact, you may feel guilty about feeling relief, but this is normal too. Don’t feel guilty. Your loved one is no longer suffering. It’s time for you now.

2.  There is no manual on the right way to grieve

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross MD wrote about the five stages of grief, outlining the “typical” steps one goes through after a loss, according to PsychCentral:

  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

However, not everyone goes through these steps in a linear fashion. Some skip over anger and go right to depression, or maybe some people never truly achieve acceptance. Remember there is no right way for you to grieve. This is an individual process; however, if you feel despair and have been caught in a cycle of depression, it’s important to reach out for help. Call a local crisis center or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

3. You may simply wake up feeling OK one day

While the general rule is that individuals who are grieving go through certain stages for certain amounts of time, slowly feeling better, the truth is, sometimes you just wake up one day and feel OK. While you still may have some moments of sadness throughout your day or week, you may feel like your old self fairly quickly. Again, this is often accompanied by feelings of guilt: “why do I feel happy today when my spouse just passed?”. And again, this is all normal.

4. You will learn who you can and can’t count on

Grief is a tricky subject. Many people feel so uncomfortable with it that they avoid it — even if it’s their best friend who lost their mother. During times of loss, you will find out who your real friends are, those who are incredibly supportive, and those who have disappeared when things got rough. You should always give that person the benefit of the doubt, of course, as you don’t know the battle they are facing too, but grief has a way of simplifying things and giving you clarification into who you can count on in times of stress.

5. Bereavement support can really help

Even if you’ve never been to counseling or sat in on a support group in your life, now may be the time to start. There is an incredible amount of support that can be gleaned from talking with others who have gone through a similar experience. Join a support group for grieving spouses, or for those who have lost a child, or those who have lost a parent. Go to meetings regularly, seek out counseling, go out with friends…whatever it is, make sure it’s social. Isolation can lead to depression, so don’t be afraid to emerge out of your comfort zone and learn to help yourself. You will be amazed at how good you will feel after sharing your story with someone else and having them validate it back.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

Here at Pathways, we offer a variety of bereavement services, from workshops and one-on-one counseling to support groups and annual memorial events. Call us to learn more about how we can help you get through your grief.