Loss is an immense experience often met with a floodgate of emotions. Whether it’s the first time we’re dealing with the loss of a loved one or have encountered it a handful of times, it still doesn’t diminish any sense of tragedy we feel inside.
We all cope with death differently. There’s no hard and fast rule of understanding why these things happen. However, there are times when it does feel as if it’s too unbearable or our fellow love ones need our support and we fall short of providing it.
There’s never a shame in asking for help. Below, we’ve prepared useful expert tips in dealing with loss. Hopefully, these counselor tips in coping with death will help you and your loved ones throughout this journey.
- Beth Patterson, Licensed Psychotherapist and Grief Counselor
Explaining death to children can be quite a challenging task. Since we’re dealing with the death ourselves and we have to make sure we’re going through to the young ones, it’s important to know what to do and how to say things the right way.
Patterson shares her tips, saying: “Listen, listen, listen to the child’s concerns — some children believe that they somehow caused the death, or it happened because they were “bad.” Assure them that this is not the case. They may also fear that the parent is going to die. Assure them that you love them and that you are not leaving.”
She further shares: “Listen, listen, listen to the child’s concerns — some children believe that they somehow caused the death, or it happened because they were “bad.” Assure them that this is not the case. They may also fear that the parent is going to die. Assure them that you love them and that you are not leaving.”
- Elizabeth Berrien, Author of Creative Grieving: A Hip Chick’s Path from Loss to Hope Co-founder of The Respite: A Centre for Grief & Hope
Like Patterson, Berrien has helped countless people deal with loss. Below she talks about coping with the death of a spouse at a particularly young age.
“Being a young widow can be very isolating. You may feel like you are the only one going through this type of loss. Our society is not properly equipped to handle the grieving process, and you may feel awkward in social situations, especially if many of your friends and family members have significant others and can’t relate to your experience. It is important to find a support group specifically for young widows,” Berrien explains.
She further explains how it’s important to allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. “In today’s society, we are all about rushing and getting things accomplished as quickly as possible. However, grief is the opposite. Moving through the grief and healing process takes time. There is no specific start and end date. You must allow yourself time to process and work through your feelings. Other people around you may not understand the pace at which you are moving, but remember this is your loss. Your life has been altered in every way, and you have the right to take things one step at a time. So, don’t be afraid to tell the person who doesn’t understand why you aren’t feeling better after three months, that you are still coping with your loss, and that all you need is their ongoing support and respect. Even though they may not understand, it is vital to give yourself the time and space to move through it in a way that feels right to you.”
- Karen Wyatt, M.D., Author, ‘What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying’
Wyatt has worked with plenty of loss survivors. Along the way, she has realized how much of the entire journey becomes a learning experience to these people. Yes, it will be trying. Yes, it will take a toll on you. Yes, it will make you question everything. However, the fact that you can go through this and will do, shows that you are strong and that there is purpose even in tragedy.
Wyatt shares, “Past memories of happy times with loved ones who are no longer physically here can be a source of stress and pain for those on the path of grief, who may find it difficult to celebrate their usual holiday traditions.
However in my conversations with grief survivors I have found that all of them feel they have grown emotionally and spiritually because of the challenges they have experienced; and their current life’s work has been shaped and inspired by their grief, as well. While the grief process is unique to each person who experiences it, here are some of the tips these experts have shared with me.”