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Dealing with loss

Dealing with the loss of a loved one

Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. It is especially hard for younger people because their coping mechanisms are not fully developed yet. You may feel angry, guilty, regretful, depressed and, as a result, isolate yourself from the loved ones that are still with you. If you have lost a loved one and feel any of these emotions, these information that follows may help you deal with the loss:

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa

Every challenge you go through will teach you important life lessons. Instead of getting stuck in grief and heartache, try to use the pain of your loss to fuel your life journey. Think through your feelings of hurt and get to the bottom of where they come from. That’s when you can take the opportunity to learn and grow. Maybe you feel like you didn’t show your appreciation for your aunt before she passed away, but now you have time to make sure you do appreciate the loved ones who are still with you.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck

A life lost is still a life to be celebrated. Each person who you meet has been put in your life for a reason. Take some time to reflect on why the loved one you lost was put in your life. What valuable lessons did they teach you during your time together? Make mental notes of those lessons and live your life in honour of what they taught you. This is the best way to honour someone’s legacy.

“Whenever I am missing you, I also remember how fortunate I was that you were in my life. I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world.” – Cindy Adkins

Always be grateful for the time you had together. There are so many people who live isolated and lonely lives – never even getting to know their loved ones. The fact that you are grieving and heartsore means that your loved one left behind a void that won’t easily be filled by anyone else because the relationship you shared was a deep a meaningful one. Focus on the positive impact they had on your life with gratitude.

“Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow – it is not a permanent rest stop.” – Dodinsky

Grieving is a necessary process. You can’t bypass it. Some people take longer to work through grief than others. And that is perfectly okay. It is important not to rush the process. If you rush the process, you won’t ever be able to get to a place of peace and acceptance. Remember that the level of pain you feel right now is temporary and not a permanent rest stop. Moving through the stages of grief is perfectly normal and one day you will be able to remember the good times without falling apart.

“Forgiveness is healing … especially forgiving yourself.” – Alyson Noel ‘Evermore’

You must forgive yourself. No matter what you did, what you may have said or done to hurt or disappoint the loved one you lost, you are only human. We all make mistakes – every single one of us. Even the most dedicated student in your school makes mistakes. Don’t carry the unnecessary burden of not forgiving yourself around with you like a dark cloud. You won’t be able to move on until you accept your mistakes and truly forgive yourself.

“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” – Unknown

Sometimes it is easier for the mind to remember the negative memories of a loved one – leaving you feeling guilty and shameful. Try to avoid the negative memories and focus more on the fun you had together, on the good times. There will always be regrets, whether you had a good relationship or a shaky one. Rather honour your loved one by treasuring all the good memories you have of them.

If you are struggling with the loss of the loved one and think you may need help with the grieving process, there are many free support groups you could attend to get help. Contact Childline or SADAG to get in touch with a support group in your area:

Childline (24 hours / seven days a week)

Phone 116 – free from all networks

SADAG Mental Health Line

011 234 4837

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