By Elizabeth Postle - A healthcare professional with over 45 years experience of helping people cope with death and grief.
On this page we share three goals which can be a good focus to work towards during the grieving process. It will take time and there will be set backs, so don't be hard on yourself if you can't get there all at once. It is not the destination that counts, but the journey.
We are all trying to reach these goals but even when they are reached, it is not necessarily permanent. Grief can creep back at any time, and we do need to give ourselves time to grieve too.
Acceptance is the big one. There are several things that we need to accept on our grief journey.
Acceptance of your loss and that it really has happened can take a long time. It can be particularly hard if you weren't present when the person died. Many people go into denial and it can take years before you can face and process the grief. Getting involved with the funeral, writing a journal, or talking it through with a trusted friend or family member can help.
Acceptance of the new person you have become. We will never be the same person after a major loss in our life. Working out your new identity and who you are now can be a difficult process. It is common to have trouble with a loss of self-identity after a bereavement. Accepting your new identity and living the life of the new you is a huge step forward. You have faced a huge challenge and come out of it a stronger person.
There will be times along the grief pathways when you think acceptance won't be possible. It takes time and also the will to succeed for yourself, family and friends.
Acceptance comes with a feeling of well being and knowing that you are coping despite your loss. Your loved one would have been proud of you.
There are many ways in which you can work towards acceptance.
It may seem impossible at first, but you can find joy in living again and this is a good goal to work towards. After all, life is precious and short and we need to make the most of it. No-one knows how much time we have left.
The first step in our second goal is to learn to cope with day to day situations. This alone can be hard due to the fact that our loss has created a huge change in circumstances that at first we do not understand. Take it slowly and tackle one small task or challenge at a time. Each time you achieve one of these steps, you can feel proud of yourself and know that it will be easier the next time.
There is no magic wand but the power of positive thinking. Your determination to remember your loved one with happy thoughts and know how lucky you were to have known them will help.
One day you will be shocked when you realise that you have enjoyed an outing with friends or family or you are uplifted by a beautiful view or a piece of music. Something you have long hoped to enjoy without the feeling of guilt or sadness that your loved one is not here to share it.
After all the sadness, joy can creep up on you and the realisation that you can enjoy life again is a huge goal met. It may take time but it happens.
It can be hard to find meaning in our lives when we lose someone. We often lose part of our identity and function in life when a partner or child dies. But we can find a new purpose and gain satisfaction from doing something fulfilling or useful.
This too takes time and your purpose often creeps up on you without you realising. It may be charity work or a new job. It might be caring for grandchildren or looking after a neighbour.
Perhaps it is something creative like getting into painting again, or writing your life story. Perhaps it is travelling to all those places you have had on your bucket list.
Your goal is individual for you. Work out a list of things you would love to do, get started and you will find your meaning in life.
We have a page of activities which may give you some ideas to get started.
This is your precious time, so most of all do not waste it. Let your heart be full of gratitude for the time you have left and fill it with meaning and joy in memory of your loved one.
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Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
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