Mourning the death of one family member is already difficult enough. So how do you handle and cope with multiple losses? Though that feels impossible to bear, it can happen when life gives you a bad draw, whether it is a car accident, the death of a person and beloved pet, consecutive losses, or some other scenario. Professionals refer to mourning multiple losses as cumulative grief.
When this happens, it can be very debilitating. Imagine fixing the funeral services of your mother, and a month later, prepping for the cremation services of a friend. Compounding losses feel more difficult because the pain is still raw when the next tragedy strikes. You just finished picking funeral songs, yet you have no choice but to do it all over again. Remember, even if you are dealing with many losses, healing is still possible with the right coping strategies. Here’s how you can get that done:
Give Yourself Extra Care
During these trying times, it is vital to give yourself extra care. After compounding losses, you will naturally feel exhausted and anxious. You may even feel as if your sense of security and even self-confidence are both gone. Be kind to yourself and remember your feelings are normal. After all, you are dealing with resurfacing ill feelings from the previous and current losses. Though it may be difficult, you must prioritize self-care, or you are bound to get sick. Remember to do the following:
- Eat nutritious meals (order if you don’t feel like cooking).
- Take time to perform good grooming activities.
- Go on a relaxing getaway with family to help you heal.
- Get a soothing massage to help ease tired muscles.
Take Time to Process Everything
With multiple losses, you need even more time to calm down and heal. In some cases, the grief for one tragedy feels delayed because it is simply too much for your mind to process all the complex details at once. However, this doesn’t mean you feel apathetic or don’t care.
When this happens, your body is on self-protection mode to prevent you from breaking down by dealing with everything in one go. So take your time and deal with one aspect of your grief as you see fit. Only you can define that time and no one else. Besides, some people may argue that grief will never truly end because the heart never stops loving or missing people. It just evolves and becomes less harsh with each passing day.
Focus on One Thing at Each Day
Some people compare cumulative grief to a very chaotic and messy room. When you look at everything, you feel pressure because it is obvious that this room is hard to clean up. However, it becomes easier to accomplish if you focus on one thing, say a pile of books or dusting. The same concept applies to grief. Doing all at once will be more stressful but focusing on a small area makes it more manageable.
Even experts recommend compartmentalizing like this, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to take baby steps. Handle things one day at a time, so you don’t feel lost. Doing this will also give you sufficient space to truly mourn each loss. Mourn one element at a time and just process what you feel like doing. You don’t have to force yourself to heal and be happy overnight.
Seek Emotional Support From Friends
Mourning multiple losses makes you feel as if no one understands what you’re going through. It can be a very isolating experience, especially if you bottle up all your feelings inside. It would help to remember that you are not alone. Although only you can truly comprehend your emotions, leaning on other people will lighten the load.
Keep in mind; your family and friends are eager to reach out and offer their support. Even something as simple as talking to a trusted friend will do wonders for your soul. Don’t be afraid to vent your feelings. You will not weigh down your close loved ones with your problems because they care about you. Chances are, they feel worried and would feel relieved if you call them.
Go for Professional Help and Support Groups
If over time, you still struggle with intense feelings of sadness, it would be helpful to seek professional help. Don’t be afraid of reaching out for grief counseling or therapy. This is the right step because even the strongest people find it difficult to handle multiple losses. In addition, professionals know tools to help you process negative emotions.
Apart from that, you can also join support groups. Connect with other people who have suffered the same losses as you did. Since they experience similar circumstances, you can relate with one another. This is also a helpful resource because you will meet members who have progressed with their healing. They will remind you that all is not lost, and you can still eventually move on and be truly happy.
The Final Wrap Up
Though multiple losses feel very unfair, they can happen. That’s the sad reality of life. If you are experiencing cumulative grief, remember that it is not impossible to overcome your problems. You will eventually progress in your grief journey and find healing over time.
The important thing is to process intense grief so that you do not compromise your health. Mourning everything you have lost shall help you find release. Talking it out and seeking support will help. It would be beneficial if you did not let these compounding losses dictate the future. When you process your grief in a healthy manner, you can mourn peacefully and eventually move on.