How to Deal with Grief and Loss

Nothing can ever prepare you for a loss. One day a person is in your life and the next they’re gone. The shock and utter disbelief leaves you in extraordinary pain which may cripple you emotionally for a very long time. The emotions you experience from a loss are often the same whether the loss is the result of a death or break up. You are left feeling completely devastated, utterly helpless, abandoned and alone.

When you lose someone you loved very deeply the pain cuts you to the core. It completely immobilises you leaving you unable to think straight, not knowing how to feel or how to respond because your emotions are scattered everywhere. When you don’t know how to adequately cope with the situation you wonder how you will ever survive. Contemplating the future becomes painful and bleak because you simply cannot imagine a life without that person.

It is extraordinarily difficult coping with daily life when you are wracked with so much pain. It can be a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning because you feel as though you have absolutely nothing to look forward to and that your life is over. You may feel like a walking corpse, i.e. feel utterly dead and hollow inside because when the person left, it is as though a part of you left with them.  Their departure may have caused you to lose your faith, your innocence or your passion for life, leaving you in the depths of despair. Whatever died inside of you may remain missing for quite some time until you find the means to feel whole again. While you remain deeply sad you may think it is impossible to ever feel happy again but the truth is you can and you will. You are likely to experience the darkest day of your life before you start the recovery process but when you do, you will feel tremendously relieved that the worst is finally over.  Recovery is often slow and imperceptible and you may not realise your progress until one day you find yourself laughing and enjoying moments again. 

It’s a savage blow when the man you love abandons you and runs off with another woman especially if you had previously found out about his cheating and he promised you he would never see her again. Out of love you may have given him the benefit of the doubt, another chance to correct his wrongs because you wanted to believe he was a good man who simply made a mistake. But for him to betray you once again and destroy that trust only proves he is not worthy of your love. Some men are cowards; they may opt for the easy way out and run from conflict rather than deal with it responsibly. Instead of doing the right thing and ending a relationship properly they might simply vanish and are never heard from again. This leaves a woman in a terrible position; completely shattered and hurt beyond measure because the kindness she was willing to extend to him was utterly worthless.

When you have been mistreated by someone your outlook is never the same again. It may cause you to doubt yourself, your faith in others and your notion of what love should be. Some women have confessed that it would have been easier if the man had died rather than have to live with the knowledge of his betrayal. Death is final, absolute and usually not the person’s choice but the deliberate deception required to hide another relationship from you has to be elaborate and calculated and is as bad, if not worse, than the betrayal itself.  You may remain traumatised by it for years to come.

Coping with grief is one of the hardest things you will ever encounter in life. When you are consumed with so much heart wrenching pain you may find it difficult relating to people around you and for a period may distance yourself from those who care. Well meaning friends will try to comfort you and offer advice as to what you should do but the truth is you’ll probably feel too depressed to do anything for a very long time. Unless your friends have experienced a similar situation themselves, they will have no notion of the depth of the agony harboured within you. They may offer kind words, a sympathetic ear, or a shoulder to cry on but really they are powerless to give you the assistance you need. The only person who could possibly erase the pain you are feeling is gone and it’s unlikely he is ever coming back.

People grieve in different ways. Some people turn to family and friends for support whilst others might isolate themselves and prefer to deal with their grief on their own. Not everyone feels comfortable divulging their emotions; they may not like to appear weak and vulnerable or to ask others for help.  They might choose to conceal the extent to which they are hurting because they don’t want others to see how much pain they’re in or to be an object of pity.  But when something catastrophic happens in your life you do need a crutch, someone to lean on because you cannot expect to function normally. There is no shame in reaching out and asking someone for help; it is usually during our hour of need that we discover who our true friends are. A true friend can be your greatest source of strength when you yourself are at your lowest point in your life and feel utterly broken inside.

Sometimes the trauma and pain you encounter from a loss is so deep that it overrides any happy occasion that takes place thereafter. You may find it hard to enjoy life because the pain is so potent that it blocks any form of positive emotion.  Special occasions you once found pleasure in become a non event and you might find yourself sitting there waiting for it to be over whilst all the others are enjoying themselves. Sadness can swallow you up and might cause you to feel like you’re living in a fog because what you experienced just doesn’t seem real. Day to day life can all of a sudden become very burdensome.  Even the most trifling and mundane of tasks can be near impossible for you and it might seem like you are running on autopilot just to get by.  

When we are forced into a situation we didn’t want we have no choice but to weather the storm the best way we can. We may not always know what to do but that’s okay, there is no ‘normal’ way to grieve. Everyone experiences pain differently and we all have our own timeline. The deeper we love, the more emotionally attached we are and the longer the recovery period is likely to be. It is hard to accept that a future without your loved one has now become your new reality. Your relationship was cut short and ended suddenly but you are still here and you need to live.

There are people in your life who are unique and irreplaceable and to lose them often leaves a gaping hole in your heart.  Sometimes you can remain sad for a long period of time before your heart begins to mend. Don’t waste time worrying about things you can’t control, focus on those things you can. Of course this is easier said than done but dwelling on the past keeps you there and plays havoc on your mind.  You will find letting go is a process, not an event and the severity of your pain will gradually ease over time. Finding positive influences and regaining a sense of purpose will pull you through.

Tatiana Lestal is an Estonian Australian writer who has worked in the British and Australian film and television industries for the past 15 years. She is passionate about film and has been involved in the running of many film festivals and in the production of short and feature films. Tatiana has always had an keen interest in writing, it’s a pursuit that runs in her family. She is related to acclaimed Estonian writer Peeter Lindsaar and Linguistics author Professor Ralf Lesthal. Tatiana is now focusing her energies on comedy writing and is currently working on her first feature length screenplay. Tatiana lives in the beautiful Bavarian city of Munich and in her spare time enjoys travel, photography and craft design.

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