What to do after losing a loved one

It’s a tough topic to talk about but we need to know what to do after losing a loved one.  Nothing in the world can prepare you for the loss of a loved one, especially a close family member or a partner. There are so many things to deal with, from knowing which funeral directors to use to sorting through all of their possessions; all of this while trying to come to terms with the fact they’re no longer around. Sometimes it can all get a bit too much and you’ll find that you need help coping with things. So, here’s some guidance on what to do after losing a loved one. 

Don’t be afraid to grieve

The worst thing you can do is bottle up your emotions in the hope that you’ll be okay. This will only make things harder and will leave you suffering the worst effects of grief for longer. It’s normal to cry, it’s normal to feel angry and it’s perfectly normal to let others see you being human. Yes, there are funeral arrangements to make and other family members to support, but you need to allow yourself time to grieve properly; it’s all part of the healing process.

At the same time, allow yourself to be happy too. Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself laughing with friends or having a good time. It’s healthy and your loved one would want it.

Seek support

It’s so important to talk to people and tell someone how you’re feeling. Start by opening up to a close friend or family member, telling them what you’re struggling with and sharing your emotions. If you’re really struggling to deal with things, then there’s plenty of professional help available too. Visit your GP, talk to a trained bereavement specialist or join a local support group for people who are in a similar position to yourself. Don’t suffer in silence; you’re not alone.

Look after yourself

Following the death of a loved one, it’s easy to stop taking as much care of yourself and end up feeling run down. You’re stressed, you’re emotional, you’re grieving, but you’ve got to do your best to look after yourself and stay healthy. Eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly. As tempting as it can be when dealing with loss, avoid turning to alcohol or things such as sleeping tablets to numb the pain.

Find a new hobby

Keeping yourself busy and doing something that you enjoy is a great coping mechanism after suffering the loss of a loved one. Whether it’s running, drawing or baking, you’ll find that you not only distract yourself, but you learn to be mindful and live in the moment. So often you dwell on things that are in the past, especially when you’ve just lost someone, but a creative hobby will give your mind something new to focus on.

Reminisce

Having said that, it’s still important to remember the good times and keep the special memories of your loved one alive. Take time out of your day every now and then to sit and go through old photos or, when a certain memory pops into your head, write it down in a notebook so you don’t forget it. You’ll then be able to look back on it or share it with others.

Be prepared

There are going to be days that are harder than others and difficult times to come. Birthdays and anniversaries are always particularly hard, so plan something nice and surround yourself with friends and family. There’ll also be times when people say something without realising your loss, so prepare yourself for these occasions which are bound to happen, and know what to say without making either of you feel bad as a result.

Losing a loved one is never easy, but following these simple steps can help you through the hard times.

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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