It seems that every time we turn on the TV that we are bombarded with tragic loss. This can be especially hard if we are dealing with loss in our personal lives. It is also difficult when the loss does not make sense and/or is unexpected. We have the entire town of Windermere grieving the loss and honoring the life of their beloved officer and friend, Robert German, who was tragically killed in cold blood in a senseless murder at gunpoint. We also have the family and friends grieving the loss of his killers, Brandon Goode (18) and Alexandria Hollinghurst (17), who took their own lives that same morning after taking the life of Officer German. Neither occurrence makes sense to their loved ones. Neither death can fully be explained in a way that would relieve the pain they are facing at this moment in their lives.
There is nothing anyone can say or do to make the pain of losing a loved one go away but there is help in the process. If you or someone you know is dealing with a loss from a death or suicide here are some helpful tips to assist in healing along the way:
1) Share your feelings with others. This is not a time to be alone or to isolate yourself. There will be moments that you may need to be alone to process the events, to grieve out loud and listen to your own thoughts and feelings, but isolation does not assist in the long run. Avoiding the company of others or not sharing your feelings keep you stuck and can cause you to fall into a deeper depression.
2) Don’t hold on to regrets. Punishing yourself with the “should haves” and “could haves” does not make the loss easier and does not add reason to the events that have occurred. It is not your fault! Allow yourself to remember the good times, not the moments that you missed or the words that were left unsaid. This is the time to honor their life, not to emotionally harm yourself even more through your grief.
3) Find healthy ways to cope with your loss. Many people chose to numb the pain by resorting to alcohol use, drugs, reckless behaviors, and/or avoidance. None of these “coping strategies” are healthy and none will assist you in the healing process. No one copes in the same way and it needs to work for you! You may need to seek your higher power, journal, listen to music, talk aloud about it with a friend, or run 3 miles a day; but whatever it is, it needs to be driving you through your grief with the intent of reaching relief in your pain towards acceptance of the events.
4) Don’t bottle up your emotions. Let your emotions out! Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling without judging yourself. You might be crying one moment and laughing the next and this is okay. It is normal to have a range of emotions after losing a loved one. Even if you feel your thoughts and feelings are crazy share them with a trusted friend or express them on paper. Bottling up your feelings will never bring you positive results. It is a recipe for an explosive disaster in the near future.
5) Get professional help. You do not have to go through this alone. It does not make you weak, as a matter of fact, it makes you stronger to be able to say that you can’t do this alone. A counselor can walk you through the stages of grief and help you cope with all of the emotions that may seem to not make any sense at all.
At the end of the day there is not a one-fits-all solution to helping with loss. Loss is felt by everyone on this planet at some point in their lives and is an emotion and time in our lives that cannot be ignored or pushed aside. You don’t have to go through this alone. You don’t have to make sense of this alone. It is okay to not have the answers and it is okay to seek professional help. If you or someone is dealing with a loss or suicide please contact Orlando Grief Counseling with Life Counseling Solutions at 407-622-1770.
Author: Joann Venant