Loss is always difficult. When it is not my loss I am always floundering for words. It seems like you need to say something, but at the same time you know nothing you can say will make things better.
Then, if you are the one suffering you always end up in the awkward position to supply the right reply when someone says they are sorry…I’ve found the best replies in that case are, “Me too,” and, “Thank you.”
Don’t say, “It’s ok,” because it is not ok – you are grieving, you are hurting, there is a hole in your life. (Side note: same goes for when someone has wronged or hurt you, it is still not “ok”.)
The truth is:
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” -Queen Elizabeth II
I find this quote simultaneously simple and profound. There can only be great loss where great love has been. Focus on the good times, the funny things, and the moments where (even in them) you knew they were something special. Remember the good and be thankful you were blessed to have known and loved that soul.
My advice for coping after the loss of a loved one (be it family, friend, or pet)-
-Make a list of all the happy and funny memories you shared.
This is a list that will grow over time. Memories long forgotten will resurface over days, weeks, months, years. Welcome them and treasure them.
-Don’t try to rush the grief process.
We have all seen the steps in the grief process (denial, anger, bargaining…acceptance). Grief is not a linear one-fits-all process. It is deeply personal. People tend to bounce around those various stages/steps. Grief is also uncomfortable and painful so we tend to want to “get it over with”, but it isn’t something you can really hurry through.
-Sort through old pictures.
This helps with the memories and funny story mining I mentioned above. It is important to take breaks as needed, don’t trudge through if looking at pictures is too painful.
-Seek out others.
Don’t stow yourself away or become a recluse. Don’t give into the urge to wallow for too long. Look to friends and family for comfort and a tiny bit of normalcy now that your world has shifted. Seek out good energies.
-Be kind to yourself.
Remember to take care of yourself. Go for a walk. Eat something yummy. Look for the butterflies, feathers or flowers. Look for the good things. Look for reasons to smile and/or laugh. Look for the signs that remind you, you are not alone.