By Danielle Silvia
Losing someone invokes a pain that is indescribable. Whether you were able to say a last goodbye or not, dealing with loss is a feeling like no other.
If you or someone you know has experienced loved one’s death, they are likely going through a grieving process. It can be hard to cope with grief, but there are healthy habits out there to keep people on the right path.
From my experiences, I have learned a lot about grief and how it affects how I live my life. After facing a harsh battle with cancer, my grandmother passed away the day before Valentine’s Day at 88 years old. My grandfather, 92, with a broken leg and dementia, would be all alone for the holiday. Only 19 days later, my grandfather passed away, too.
The American Psychological Association offers many options for handling grief in a healthy way. Talking about the death of your loved one is a good way to feel supported and to keep from feeling isolated. According to the APA, it also helps to accept your feelings –– it’s easy to try and bury your pain or frustration, but it’s important to recognize that these emotions are helpful for the grieving process and that we need to accept and experience them. Building healthy habits are also important –– spending time with family, eating well
and exercising are all ways to achieve better habits and feel productive. Most importantly, the APA recommends remembering and celebrating the lives of the loved ones you’ve lost. I have done my best to incorporate this and other strategies into my life as well.
I had never really lost anyone close to me in my life before I lost my Nan and Pop. While I was very close with both of them, my Nan was truly my best friend. A multitude of letters, phone calls and postcards defined our relationship, since they lived in California for my entire life.
When I miss them, I tell myself that I can carry on their memory by living a life filled with love for myself and others. Personally, I have found grief to be so inspiring in this way because I am discovering ways to honor their lives and also continue to flourish in my own life.
I never really understood what loss is like, but I can now say that although missing some- one is difficult, I live with enough of their love to sustain a lifetime of happiness. I wake up each morning and take a few moments to feel grateful about the day I’m about to experience. I’ve been trying to smile more, even at little things, like the glow of the flowers in the garden, the breeze on my arms as I go for a jog and my mom’s freshly-baked banana muffins.
Overall, my loss has taught me to appreciate life. If there is someone you love, share your feelings with them while you have the chance. Foster treasured memories and savor the love you feel, because one day, these cherished moments are what will help you get through grief. I believe that a person can make the most of his or her time by greeting each day with a positive attitude. Just like all things, grief fades and one remains with the memories of their loved ones that helps them move forward. Relying on happy memories has made me a happier person and able to grieve.
Yes, I miss my grandparents dearly. I miss updating them with photographs of myself and my siblings in the mail, I miss calling them on the phone and I miss hearing their laughs. I’ve learned that I will never truly be alright because my heart will always ache for one last phone call. But their love for one another and for me is what has gotten me through this grieving process — it is some- thing that can never be taken away.
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“What are some healthy ways to cope with loss?”