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Understanding Grief and coping mechanisms

Last Wednesday 6th October 2021 would have been my Dads 78th birthday and the first birthday of him not being here in my world.

I knew I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and I was feeling emotional in the lead up to the day, which I'm told is totally understandable. It's now the Monday after and I still feel a little emotional. But I did celebrate Dad with starting the day off with a tea and bacon sarnie and then headed to his old Yacht Club to raise a pint of bitter shandy to wish him a happy birthday.

Grief is such a consuming emotion in so many ways and something that probably never leaves us, it's just something that gets less intense over time I guess? If I'm honest I grieved dad when he got diagnosed with memory impairment in 2008 as I knew what it was going to lead to. I always remember breaking down in work and thinking I'm losing my Dad. So I believe I've carried grief for many years and maybe that's why I seem to have dealt with Dads death better than I thought? If I'm honest... I'm so pleased he passed away for HIM, as he was very much nearing the last stages of alzheimers and one thing Dad said to me was... "Nina the day I can't wipe my own backside, throw me in the drink" and trust me he truly meant it... the drink being the ocean as he was a very keen Yachtsman as you can see below. So keen he's a sleep... haha!

I speak to many of our followers about coping with grief... it helps me... it helps them and it's something that sadly we are all possibly going to face at some point in our life and so I wanted to put some tips/understanding/references here for people to refer to...

  1. Accept Your Grief: Don't try to run and hide from your grief. You need to experience the pain and sorrow to be able to move past it and heal.

  2. Be Gentle with Yourself: Try not to judge yourself for not “doing better” or “keeping it together.” It will get easier over time to feel like your normal self.

  3. Celebrate the Life of your Loved One: Grieving a loved one is a painful and bittersweet experience since part of that grief process is recalling memories of the person you have lost. An important part of healing is remembering and talking about your loved one.

  4. Pace Yourself: Grief can be exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to feel so intensely. Allow yourself plenty of time to do everyday activities and don't over-schedule yourself. Rest when you need to and be kind to yourself.

  5. Have a Little Fun: When we're grieving we tend to feel guilty about having a little fun... as if sharing a laugh with someone is somehow dishonouring the memory of their loved one. The truth is, laughter is excellent medicine. A great way to have some genuine fun is to surround yourself with children or animals.

  6. Understand that Grief is Unpredictable: Grief can make you feel completely out of control, which is an unnerving feeling and can bring a great deal of discomfort. The unpredictability of the grieving process is normal.

  7. Learn About Grief: The more you know about grief the more you will realise that your grief is normal. You also might discover warning signs that your grief is complicated and that you need more help to cope, and that's ok if you need extra help.

  8. Talk About It: Sometimes it helps to talk about it with family, friends, or a professional. If others are going through your loss with you, use each other to lean on and confide in. It helps to get it out rather than keeping things bottled up inside.

  9. Write It Down: If you never got a chance to say goodbye, write your feelings in a letter. Say what you would have said had you gotten the chance. You don't have to share the letter with anyone if you don't want to, but getting it all out on paper might help you find peace and closure.

  10. Accept some loneliness: Loneliness is completely normal, but it is important not to get too isolated. Reach out to friends and family or support groups who are comfortable with grief... Cruse Bereavement Care provides bereavement support to people across the UK. If you need someone to talk to you can call their helpline on 0808 808 1677 - Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they're open until 8pm.

Winnie the Pooh once said... "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

I truly hope that if you're reading this it has helped you in some way.

Big hugs,

Neens 💜

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