While death separates us physically, we still hold all the feelings we shared with each other. It takes time to sort through these feelings and to learn new ways to live with them. This is what grief is all about! Be patient with yourself (and with each other in your family!) and give yourselves time to think and talk. There are no quick, easy ways, no short cuts through grief. When we take detours or try to avoid the emotions and the sorrows of loss, grief will pop up elsewhere in various disguises – irritableness, depression, physical illness. Relationships with spouses and children often take it on the nose.
Talk about your feelings. Sit with them and feel them. Reminisce. Bring a sense of “ritual” to the tasks of attending to clothes and personal affairs. Make a special point of caring for yourself – eat well, exercise, sleep – even if you don’t feel like doing so.
It is valuable to seek out a trusted friend or a professional – your minister, a counselor – and ask him or her to meet with you every other week or so to intentionally talk about your feelings of separation and loss. Our church office can offer referrals to group programmes, too.
Two books you may find helpful are Granger Westberg Good Grief and Alan Wolfelt’s Understanding Grief, Helping Yourself Heal. Both are available at local bookstores.