When you lose someone to death, the tendency at first is to focus on how bad it is because you will never see them again. However, you can go through the mourning process more quickly when you go through memorabilia of the person and allow yourself to enjoy reminiscing. Read about this and other tips to handle the loss of a loved one.
- know that going through memorabilia is healthy and healing
- talk to others who knew the person
- be grateful of the memories you have
- accept the mourning
- let yourself enjoy life
- think that you have to hold on to the sadness for a long time
- judge others who don’t seem to be mourning
- judge your own feelings
- give yourself guilt if there was unfinished business
- keep replaying in your head a traumatic memory of the death
When you go through old pictures, library cards, sports uniforms, instruments and other items that the person owned, it can be therapeutic to happily reminisce. This is because you think of the good times you had and feel grateful.
When you get together with other family members or friends who knew the person, it feels good for everyone to remember the good times they you all had. Include the good times that the person had so you can believe that they had a good life.
When a memory of the person gets triggered, let yourself be grateful for the experience. There are many ways that a memory can be triggered. It can happen when you go to a place you used to go with the person, such as a restaurant or a vacation destination. Let yourself feel good for the times you had with your loved one instead of thinking how bad it is that they are not there.
When you do feel mournful, accept the feeling. Even if you apply the first three techniques, there are probably going to be times when you feel sad, angry, or think about what might have saved the person. Don’t fight these feelings or judge yourself as selfish. Ironically, accepting how you feel often makes the sad feelings less intense.
People who had a loss often believe that they have to stay sad all of the time. Allow yourself to be happy when you feel happy without feeling guilty that you recently lost someone and are having fun.
Many people stay sad over a loss for years for basically two reasons. One is that they feel they need to stay sad to prove that they care about the person who died. You can mourn for a short period of time and still care about the person you lost. A second reason people stay sad is because they think it is the only way to still feel connected to their deceased loved one. However, you can still feel connected by remembering the good times you had with them.
It is not necessary to judge anyone who does not act mournful at the funeral. People mourn and say goodbye to others in different ways. In India's culture they mourn by lighting a candle and peacefully reflect on the life. It’s great that many funerals today display pictures of the person’s life. Consequentially, they make the funeral a celebration of life instead of a sad time.
If you had a strained relationship with the person, don’t judge yourself for not feeling sad when they pass. Your feelings are not good or bad, they are just feelings. When most of your memories with the person are not pleasant ones, it is not necessary to feel sad or mourn.
Many people say that when they lost a loved one there were things they left unsaid, such as they never told their parent they loved them. Many of the things people wish they had said were understood, particularly in close family relationships. If you took care of a sick parent or grandparent and they died they understand that you loved them. Sometimes young adults get impatient with a non ambulatory person they are taking care of. The person will understand if most of your interactions were positive.
If you have vivid memories of the person suffering or were there when they died, you will tend to play the experience in your head repeatedly. You can choose to redirect your thoughts to something more pleasant. It takes effort to do this as the mind tends to dwell on problems when unchecked. You don’t have to be thinking about the death 24 hours a day.
There are many ways to use your memories to help yourself through the loss of a loved one. You can enjoy thinking about the happy memories, and you do not have to stay angry, sad, or have regrets. Going through the memorabilia is healthy and a great activity for the whole family to do.