by Gessy Martinez
When the chaos, shock and noise quiets down after tragedy the comes the sorrow. Grief shows up after the dust settles and the awareness that someone you have loved has died. Grief becomes the constant unwanted presence you feel when you wake up, throughout the day and in the night. After the funeral is complete and friends have shared their condolences you are left asking “now what”.
That question of “now what” is the mind trying to making sense of this new reality.
The “now what” is the body trying to control and regulate the various emotions, sensations and mixed signals it is getting from your senses.
The “now what” is your soul crying out to find answers and place responsibility.
The now is the work of healing which will take time, care and assistance.
“Now” is the daily work of healing, “what is deciding how to honor the relationship and the loss while recovering from the pain.
Begin with assessment- looking at what happened, telling the story and uncovering all the ways the loss has impacted your life. Telling the story allows for an immediate release of emotions, thoughts and feelings, that will make processing loss easier later. The initial sharing and validation of someone listen can help prevent getting stuck in the trauma loop. The change in roles, relationships, and what questions exist because of this. What was taken from your life as a result of this loss. For example, losing a mother, can mean losing a friend, caregiver, mentor, a provider, a connection to other family members.
An assessment helps with understanding what you have to do next to allow other people to fill the space that was left open by the death. This is not filling the space or role in your life as a way to forget, but as a way to ensure you have the help you need to navigate the pressure and stress that death has left.
The review of who is in your life will help to encourage and direct your next steps. The danger of not doing this is negative thoughts will come and tell you that you are alone and no one is here to help, when in fact you are not alone and there are many people standing with you, rooting for your success.
Next, add the reinforcements needed. Grief will leave you tired, exhausted and brain feeling foggy. The structure in your life has taken the blow of a massive earthquake. The shaking, disrupting of your world when the news came of your loved one dying. Safety and a sense of certainty is needed, to rebuild trust and provide the foundation to rebuild your life.
This is where friends and family can help. This is where faith and spiritual practice is essential. The techniques of negative thought stopping is also needed at this stage.
To recreate trust, it will need an anchor, that is where faith in God becomes an anchor.
To rebuild trust, you will need proof it is possible to love, hope and believe again.
To sense of safety can be recovered with slow, repetitive actions which produce consistent results over time.
Reinforcements in the form of family and friends helps strengthen a sense of community and connectedness that is vital in rebuilding trust, hope, love and sense of purpose.
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This website is in no way intended as a substitute for medical or psychological counseling. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
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