Live the mourning

8 min read
Louise halimi

Grieving is one of the difficult stages we will experience in our lives.

The loss of a loved one is a very personal experience. Our ability to overcome this painful event is unpredictable. It is a unique experience for everyone which will be in certain aspects a source of loneliness.

The entourage is particularly important in the management and support of bereavement.

Sometimes, circumstances require turning to other organizations (associations, health professionals, etc.) to receive more support. This is particularly important for cases of violent and traumatic death (suicide, loss of a child, bereavement in childhood, etc.), but it is important to question this possibility whatever the situation. This can greatly ease the pain and make the grieving process easier. Badly experienced mourning can turn into depression or give way to other psychological disorders (addiction, anxiety, aggressiveness, etc.).

Grieving takes time. The emotion will be all the more intense as the attachment to the deceased person was deep. We talk about grieving because it requires voluntarily engaging in a process of healing from pain.

The bereaved person goes through a phase of shock, amazement or even denial. It is a normal protective reaction, necessary to preserve oneself and maintain one's balance. Because mourning involves emotions of a rare intensity (fear, anger, suffering, etc.).

A period of escape will follow, also natural, which consists of concentrating on activities (organizing the funeral, work, etc.) to avoid thinking about the death of a loved one. During these first times, it will be important for the person to be in contact with objects, clothes, and photos of the deceased. It's a way to stay connected.

Gradually the person accepts the idea that the other has physically disappeared. This may correspond to the most painful period and therefore the one where more support is needed to avoid the onset of a depressive state. It is following this phase of acceptance that the individual will gradually resume the course of his life.

This work consists in building a new existence. A life without the missing person. This involves the creation of new links or the evolution of old relationships. Strengthened by this new balance, the bereaved person develops a new relationship, a link with the missing person. It becomes possible to think of the deceased while remaining calm and grounded in reality.

A mourning accompanies us for several days, weeks, months, even years. Activities and people can help to better live this period:

  • Give yourself time, it is normal to need time to accept the death of a loved one, before resuming the course of his life
  • Accept and live your emotions. It is normal to be sad and to cry. Showing your pain will allow others to measure your difficulties, but also your progress in mourning. They can tailor their support to your needs. It is important to confide your emotions. Remembering memories with the deceased can make you sad but also bring smiles and laughter when you remember the moments shared. It is also the first step towards acceptance and reconstruction. Seek the benevolent listening of loved ones or associations (support groups). Talking, telling what happened, what you are going through, will make it easier to accept the situation. It will also help you greatly to see and experience the empathy of your loved ones towards you. Repeating the story to several people makes it possible to lower the intensity of the emotion, each time. There will come a time when you no longer need to share this story. It is that you totally and serenely accept that it is part of your life.
  • Show others that you appreciate their help. Accompanying someone in bereavement requires courage. That of trying to have the word, the right action and to learn to develop a soothing presence. It is also to accept to expose oneself to the pain of the other. It is not a due and not everyone is able to play this role. It is a generous act of humility that must be supported by expressing gratitude.
  • Take the time to write down your thoughts, to share your emotions, but also to talk about what has happened lately. It may also help you to talk about the deceased: who the person is to you, why the person is important, and the memories that come back to you. Also write down your bad memories such as tensions and disagreements you may have had with the deceased. It will certainly be hard at first, but this process will help enormously in the smooth running of the mourning.
  • Try to gradually restore lightness, simple and friendly moments in your life: a cafe, a restaurant, a walk with friends. You have to give yourself the opportunity to think about something else and clear your mind. You will get support and also the motivation to project yourself into the future and into new projects with those around you.
  • Help others. Support those who share your pain. Suffering is everyone's lot. If receiving help is good for you, so is giving it. Mutual aid helps the work of mourning. The exchange, the sharing is what makes us feel like part of a group, of a family.
  • It is possible to feel guilt, regret about what you did not say or do, about what will no longer be possible or will never happen again. Turning your attention to happy times, the positive of your relationship to the deceased will help you get through these times.
  • Take care of yourself. Take the time to ask yourself how you feel physically and psychologically. Take time to take care of your health. Maintain the normal rhythm of your medical appointments. Pay attention to your sleep, your diet, to do sports activities. If you know it will be difficult to take care of it alone, talk to those around you. Around you, other people have these same concerns, even if the reasons are different, everyone will find more motivation to manage them together.
  • Promote social contacts. Resume your professional activity, your cultural outings, be part of an association whose mission matters to you...
  • Look to the future. Recreate your living space. Change the arrangement of furniture or decoration. Donate items, clothes you no longer need...
  • If you feel that you are losing control, that the suffering is too intense, that you are unable to resume the course of your life, talk to your doctor or a loved one who can help you find the right therapist for you.

Grieving is always a difficult moment, a moment that requires taking time. The time to realize, to accept and to calm down. It is through the links with those around you, the accompaniment of bereavement and the desire to create new good times that we resume, little by little, the path of life.

Photo by Veit Hammer