When I was 11 my mother passed of breast cancer and I still grieve to this day. Our very own Bernadette also lost her father in 2015 so dealing with grief and the loss of loved ones is something that our team at Make It Fun NYC know all too well! What I want everyone to know is that no one has to “deal” with grief. Instead we learn to handle the feelings and emotions that surface as a result of that grief. I truly believe the grieving process lasts a lifetime but the strength to breathe through each emotional episode and move forward increases from day to day. Today we will reflect on some of the things our team has learned over the years and we hope that it will be of some help to someone going through similar situations.
It is ALWAYS OK to cry! – Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. People will want to cheer you up and occupy you but tears relieve tension and stress. Now for some they may have young children so I recommend unless they are of an age to understand, try to stay strong in front of them. This will teach them resilience as they grow up and eventually they will understand what grief feels like and how to function in its presence.
Continue to LIVE – Just know that the loved one you lost would want you to take advantage of your days left on earth. There will be times when getting out of bed just doesn’t seem like a feasible act but push yourself, one moment at a time to continue on with your daily routines. Do not feel guilty for wanting to continue to live your life. That is the best way to remember the person you have lost, by respecting the life you still have left to live.
Talk about your feelings with those that can relate – It’s very challenging to talk to someone who has never lost someone. No matter what they won’t always understand your situation and it can feel very awkward for both of you. Instead talk with family members or support groups that have experienced what you have and find comfort in their stories and daily achievements. Going one day without crying is a huge accomplishment and those that have been where you are can relate to this positive step forwards.
Don’t get mad when someone says “I am sorry for your loss” – I know I hated hearing this and at one point said to someone “Why are you sorry? Did you kill her?” Now you will usually only hear this from individuals who have not had to deal with grief, so go easy on them. Do not make their situation or yours any more awkward by your reaction to a statement that is not meant to harm you but demonstrate their attempt at sympathizing with your situation. I know easier said than done but being more mindful of how you treat those around you will help bring your mind into focus and hinder you from isolating yourself from people because of your attitude towards them.
Keep your memories close to your heart and relive them every day or don’t, the choice is yours – I think of my mum all the time; I see her in my actions and I actively remember little details. Do not let the memory of that loved one die. They will always be a part of you. Don’t ever desire to “get over it”. Maybe you don’t want to remember because it’s too painful and that’s OK! No one can tell you how to come to terms with your grief. It is a journey that you will travel with YOUR heart and soul.
May your loved one’s rest in peace! May the sun shine on your pain and fill your heart with light and love! May your tears glisten on your face, releasing the grief of that day and displaying a reflection of all the good that is to come from your life!
Note from Bernadette: A week before this blog, I found out that my cousin recently passed away from cancer. She was only 42. No one knew and it took my whole family by surprise. I still can't wrap my head round it. My Dad passed away young as well from health issues such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and blood clots in the lung. Because of his quality of life during the last few years of his life, he also suffered from depression. It hurts every day but he's my Angel and he was so proud of me.
Remember that everyone copes with death and grief differently. But remember "Love is how you live, even when you're gone"
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Until next time
Make It Fun NYC