8 Ways To Cope With Loss And Grief5 min read
Learning how to cope will ease your pain in times of sorrow.
You know ah, we are not supposed to talk about death. People say “damn suay” if you talk about it. But ah, from my own personal experience, death is very much a part of life. People are born, they live, then they pass on. That’s life cycle mah. But yes, I agree, the sadness of losing someone you love is sometimes is too much to handle. I felt it when I lost my own mother. So today, let’s talk about how to cope with loss and how you can find relief when grieving. There’s a theory developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that says that we go through five different stages of grief after the loss of a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. But each one of us grieves differently. Here are some ways you can handle grief.
1. Learn to accept
I know it’s hard lah. If you lose someone dear, it’s never easy to accept that they will no longer be around. No books or advice can comfort you. But you have to try to face it. Accept the pain and try not hide from your grief. In fact, you will need to go through the pain to move past it and start to heal. It’s all part of the process.
2. There’s no need to grief alone
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You don’t have to bear all the pain alone. You can seek the support and care of others. Go and call family members, your church friends, your kakis, or even spend more time with your pet. I have a goldfish named Fishball that I talk to! They will all share in your pain. Sometimes, sharing the pain with others will make you feel better.
3. Get into some activity during this time
The best thing to do is to get busy – with work or some other activity you enjoy. So that you can keep your focus and it also becomes a distraction from your grief. Not thinking about your loss will help you recuperate faster, too.
4. Cry, cry, don’t shy!
Don’t let the grief eat you up. The best way is to let it all out. If you feel like crying, just cry. It’s normal. In fact, letting off “sad” steam will help you cope with the grief. It might feel even more comforting if you were to cry with your loved ones.
Different people react differently to extreme grief. While some people do not cry to process their grief, it is not emasculating for men to cry when they are grieving, contrary to popular belief. You should do what you need to make the process easier for yourself.
5. Be patient, not paiseh
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Grieving is not mechanical, and doesn’t have a timeline. Those who take a longer time to grieve are not mentally “weak”. There are no rules on the length of time you need to get over someone whom you have lost. Grief is only natural and uncontrollable.
However, if you feel that the grief doesn’t disappear for a very long time – like months and years, then you might be suffering from Complicated Grief. Approximately 7 to 10%* of people grieving struggle with this condition. Complicated grief is a strong, overwhelming grief that lasts a long time and makes you unable to cope with your feelings and move on. An important event, date or anniversary or something that reminds you of that person can make you feel as painfully sad as the first day. Grief becomes complicated when you end up stuck in that moment, caught up in painful, unhealthy thoughts and longing. But time is still your friend and is the best bet to overcome complicated grief.
6. Live your life to the fullest
Anything can happen to anyone, at any time! Your brother, sister, parents, your best friend, like you, will not be with you forever. We have to live each day at our best. Your time on earth is limited. Make the best of it while you are alive.
7. We can learn from our loss and grief
How did I take it? Did it destroy me emotionally? How did I give support to others? After each loss, take your time to learn from it. It will make you emotionally stronger and more accepting that death is inevitable. But on the other hand, you could celebrate life too. Celebrate the life of the ones who passed away, or the people presently in your life. If you do that, not only will you accept that death is a part of life, but that it is more important to celebrate life, anytime, any day! Always, in fact.
8. Keep the Faith
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I share with you one of my favourite sayings: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." Have faith that these dark clouds will pass, and you will come out stronger, emotionally and mentally. Your healing will start once you are positive that your grief will come to an end. And whatever religion you are, pray. You have nothing to lose by praying.
OK, I shall leave you with some helplines. Don’t be shy to reach out, even to a stranger. They are all trained to help make this difficult journey an acceptable and comfortable one.
The Patriach of the Tng family, Uncle Tng is a Grab driver with the gift of the gab. He’s loud, always trying to help and still uses the terms “Internet” and “Chat room”. As he sees himself as an experienced man of the world, he’s often sharing his worldly views, whether you are interested or not.