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Living with Loss

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 17 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Death loss coping With Death dealing

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be traumatic for even the most mature adult, but when you have to live with loss as a teenager your world can spin out of control very quickly. Emotions can flood over you, leaving you frantic to go on with your daily life. The important thing to remember when you are learning to live with loss is to accept that life will be different, but to remember that you are still alive and still have a life to live, no matter what.

Be Honest With Yourself - And Others

The most important thing you can do for yourself when you experience the death of a friend or family member is to be honest, both with yourself and with others. Acknowledge and accept your emotions, whatever they may be, so that you can move forward. Realise that whatever you are feeling is fine, even if it is:

  • Sadness.
  • Grief.
  • Loneliness.
  • Guilt.
  • Anger.
  • Shock.
  • Doubt.
  • Relief.
  • Frustration.
  • Tension.
  • Numbness.
  • Paralysed, as if you are unable to move or make decisions.

Express Your Emotions

Once you recognise your emotions, you will need to express them before you explode! Keeping you emotions to yourself, whether out of fear, embarrassment or shyness, will only add to your frustrations. Before your emotions tumble out at the wrong time, let them out slowly and steadily by:

  • Speaking with another family member or friend.
  • Talking to a trusted adult such as a teacher, counsellor or member of the clergy.
  • Writing in a journal.
  • Creating a collage or scrapbook.
  • Working on a poem or song.
  • Posting to a 'blog.
  • Seeking support online
  • Joining a local support group.
  • Speaking one-on-one with a counsellor or other professional.

Get Out and About

The emotional work of coping with death can be exhausting. Give your brain a break by getting out and about. The change of scenery will do you good, and sometimes all it takes is a new setting to lead you to a new perspective. Think about:

  • Visiting with family and friends.
  • Tiring yourself out with some exercise.
  • Getting lost in a book or film.
  • Visiting a day spa to let someone else look after you for a little while.
  • Planning a short ceremony at a place loved by the deceased.
Living with loss may require a long adjustment period, and that's ok. Coping with the death of a friend or family member is not a race, nor is it something you can plan out.

Everyone deals with death differently, and you must follow whatever feels comfortable for you. Your friends and other family members may be waiting to take their cue from how you act, so if they seem hesitant at first just understand that they may be unsure of how to help you.

Be patient with yourself, and everyone else, and life will begin to fall into new patterns and routines. This does not mean that you will forget those who have died, but rather that you will be living your own full and satisfying life - just as they would have wanted.

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