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How Do You Start Over After the Loss of a Loved One?

7 things that helped me cope with the loss of my mum

Image courtesy of Unsplash
Image courtesy of Unsplash

It’s been almost a month since my mum passed away, why does my heart still break into thousands of pieces when I remember, talk or write about her? 

Sometimes, the passing of a loved one can very well feel like a part of you passing. It took me to a really dark hole. One which I have had to consciously and continuously claw my way out of.

The following things have helped me tremendously in coping with the grief:

Acceptance: Death comes with such a finality; it is sometimes so hard to come to terms with it. Accepting that my mum was no more and making peace with it went a long way in easing my grieving process. 

Slowing down: This for me looked like taking an extended amount of time off work and taking things one small step at a time. I found that spending time to process the grief by myself allowed me to be present when my husband and kids came back from work and school respectively.

Grounding rituals: I’ve had a morning routine for a while now which keeps me grounded and includes things like praying, journaling and meditating. As much as I was tempted to forgo these and just succumb to the grief that was threatening to engulf me, I kept the rituals up. It also sometimes helped to amp them up by incorporating things such as an additional prayer, meditating twice a day, throwing in a couple of audio journals about my mum or simply gratitude journaling about her and these were extremely helpful. 

Scheduling grief: This seemed like a very odd one when my coach mentioned it but I’m grateful she did! I have always had the tendency to bottle things up so I committed to scheduling some time every day to grieve. I could in this time, allow myself to feel all the feels, cry all the tears (there were still always more afterwards!), remember and honour her however I pleased. I would pray for her, write her letters and do anything else I felt like. This didn’t mean that I didn’t do these things outside of this time, but it ensured that I wasn’t bottling things up and ignoring my feelings.

Going out of my way to do things I love: The last thing you feel like doing when you lose a loved one is indulging in anything you love. I however made it a point to take daily walks, listen to my favorite recitations, podcasts and audiobooks, read to myself and my kids and these helped a great deal in lifting my spirits!

Support: I process grief differently from most people and didn’t always want to talk on the phone or receive visitors because every word practically sent me bawling. When I was ready and had taken some time to process it all, I was able to talk to people more, receive visitors, spend time with other family members and it was so nice to be able to talk and bawl about her and just share the grief with loved ones including my 5-year-old who kept asking whenever my eyes were red if I was crying again. 

Reflecting: My mum had such an incredible amount of impact on me and so many others. Her passing was a jarring reminder of my own mortality and made me ponder on how I would be remembered when I go and if my life’s story would be worth sharing. As I give thought to crafting that story, I’ve decided to practice the biggest thing I’ve learned from her every day and this is courage. Writing this piece is what courage looks like for me today. 

I don’t think the pain or heart shattering will ever go away. I feel it becoming a part of me every day just as I feel the conviction to be courageous becoming a part of me I must honour every day.

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