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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Reeling from a Loved One's Absence: Learning to Cope

    It is a familiar ache: missing someone near and dear to you. We all know that empty feeling in our gut, like an emptiness that can never be filled. But what happens when that person suddenly isn’t there anymore? What do you do when they are no longer available to talk and share those moments of laughter and joy with? You feel like a part of you is missing, and this loss can lead to an unbearable amount of hurt and grief.

    It is hard to admit to yourself that you may never see that person again, despite how accepting you may want to be. Your heart may break, and it can be hard to carry on even the most basic tasks. There may not be any one single approach to cope with this magnitude of grief, but there are ways to manage it and make the journey just a little bit easier.

    One way to start the process is to accept that the pain you are feeling is real. Acknowledge it and allow yourself to take the time you need to grieve. This may manifest as tears, talking, writing, or whatever form of emotional expression you need. Do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself if it is needed.

    Another hint is to lean on your support system. Talk to your friends and family who have been in similar situations. Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness. Talking and feeling heard by others is a powerful emotion. You could even see a therapist who specializes in grief. To find the right fit, ask for referrals to make sure you find someone who can help you work through your particular grief and feelings.

    Dedicate some good energy towards activities that bring you happiness or peacefulness. Doing something creative such as painting, crafting, or journaling can provide relief. Try gardening, walking around your neighborhood, or reading a book. You could also look into volunteer opportunities or join a meetup group to get your mind off of the sadness. Doing something kind for someone else often has a positive effect of making us feel less alone.

    Going through the pain of losing a loved one is never easy and there will certainly be days where it feels impossible to bear. Don’t be too hard on yourself during these times. Grieving takes time. Grieve in a way that works for you and find the courage to keep going even though your heart is hurting.

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