Grief is an incredibly difficult experience to deal with. The way we cope is unique to our own feelings, emotions, processes, and circumstances. Navigating grief and the loss of a loved one is a complicated journey, and there is no straightforward roadmap of how to get through it. There are also no right or wrong answers, as everyone will experience different feelings and handle them in their own ways.
Grief itself – and those feelings of devastation, anger, confusion and despair that are often paired with it – is a natural, human response. In simple terms, grief is the emotional suffering we go through when something or someone we love is taken away from us.
Grief is such an intense and heightened emotion that it’s completely normal for it to feel overwhelming. The feeling of grief doesn’t just affect us emotionally, it can also take its toll physically. So many of us who are grieving will find it hard to sleep, eat or think straight. These disruptions can result in a vicious circle that worsens the emotional difficulty too.
It’s natural to feel like there’s no end to the grieving process. While it’s true that some significant losses mean that life will never be the same, there are steps you can take to cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, to try and heal again.
Acknowledge your feelings and emotions
Understanding that your grieving process will be unique to you is crucial. There can be a great deal of guilt when it comes to grieving, but try to ride the wave of emotions as much as you can – there are no right and wrongs, just as there’s no timeline. All you can do is acknowledge your feelings and emotions and take each moment, hour and day at a time. Some days will be worse than others, but that’s natural and to be expected.
Consider meaningful ways to remember your loved one
If you want to, you can still pay tribute to your loved one, as that can help the grieving process. It may take the form of visiting their final resting place or a location that was special to them. You may wish to sit and say some words to them, look over photographs, play a special piece of music, or bring a supportive friend or relative and take a moment to pay tribute to them together. You might also like to pay tribute to them by doing something they would’ve enjoyed. For example, watching their favourite film, listening to their favourite music, cooking their favourite food, or walking a route that they enjoyed.
If you need to decide what to do with cremation ashes, this is a personal and unique decision that doesn’t have to be rushed. We’ve explored this further in our blog that looks at different options for cremation ashes, and meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one.
Lean on trusted people for support
If you can, lean on family and friends – or anyone you have a close and trusted relationship with, who will understand what you’re going through. Talking can help the grieving process, especially if the company you’re with are understanding and supportive. They’ll be only too happy to lend an ear, and if they knew your loved one as well, to talk about memories together. If, however, you don’t feel ready yet to talk things through (and again, this is understandable), lean on loved ones who can help you with anything day-to-day that’s necessary but might feel difficult. For example, funeral arrangements, childcare arrangements, and even daily tasks like food shopping, house cleaning and cooking.
Take care of yourself physically, as well as emotionally
Grief is an emotional response, but there’s no doubt it affects us physically. It can be easy to neglect ourselves when we’re grieving. But an essential part of coping with grief is ensuring you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthily, drinking water, getting fresh air, and regular exercise (nothing intense, just an easy walk can work wonders for our mental and physical health). So, try and keep up your routine as much as possible, and don’t forget to look after yourself. These small things will significantly affect your mental and physical well-being.
If you’re looking for something meaningful that you can treasure forever, our memorial and bereavement jewellery is a collection that’s been sympathetically created to offer a beautiful way of remembering somebody and keeping them close forever.
We offer two different types of ashes jewellery at Hand on Heart. The first is self-fill lockets, which customers can do themselves at home. The second is jewellery made from the ashes. These are set into glass appearance resin and delicately layered to create a sparkling, floating appearance in a hard-wearing material that will last forever. Our cremation ashes jewellery collection is available in different designs, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, beads, cufflinks and earrings.
Our memorial fingerprint jewellery range has been developed alongside our work with funeral directors to ensure that we can work with any print, regardless of the level of detail, to give our customers a truly special piece of jewellery that’s unique to their loved one. Our specialist designers are extremely experienced and skilled in extracting the very best details to feature on your piece of jewellery.
Funeral directors are often happy to take your loved one’s fingerprints that can be later turned into memorial fingerprint jewellery. They are sensitive to the process, and it isn’t an unusual request, so please don’t feel nervous to ask them about it. They may use their own kits or fingerprint scanners, and we would recommend that they take as many prints as possible from different fingers and thumbs to give a good range for us to work with. If the funeral home doesn’t have its own kit or method, you can also order fingerprint kits from our website to pass on to them.
We’re incredibly proud that Grief Encounter is our charity of the year again for 2022. Grief Encounter works closely with individuals, families, schools and professionals to offer a way through the anxiety, fear and isolation so often caused by grief. Their services include one-to-one counselling, group workshops, residentials and family fun days. They also run a national, free and confidential helpline and instant web chat called grieftalk, together with a dedicated Trauma Team for support following a sudden or traumatic bereavement. As our charity of the year, we’re so delighted to support them and the incredible work they do. To find out more, please visit their website: https://www.griefencounter.org.uk/
We hope this blog has offered some help and advice about dealing with grief and loss. Grieving a loved one is a difficult time, and it can feel like it will never end, but there are simple steps we can take to look after ourselves to heal and let grief run its course.