This has been a year like no other.

We have lost our daily routines, our favorite places to visit, meals at restaurants, and lack of time with friends and families. We really miss those hugs. Some of us have lost jobs, businesses, and even friends and family. Any major loss is followed by some form of grieving. Knowing something about this process can help.

Every person goes about grieving in an individual way. Typically, in a major loss such as a loved one, the brain protects us by refusing to process reality. This is known as ‘’Denial.’’ A week after the funeral, we set their plate. As a 5-year-old patiently explained to me “If you don’t think about it, it ain’t real.” 

For some, as the denial wears off, we are filled with rage. Sometimes, we find somebody to blame. Guilt is anger at ourselves. We even get angry at them for dying. It doesn’t have to make sense.

Anger may be followed by an absolutely intense sense of emptiness. People feel hollow. Sometimes this is accompanied by a deep depression, or a pain so intense it feels physical. All of these ‘’stages’’ can be mixed, overlap, or come and go.

Well-intentioned friends and family feel desperate to help us. Phrases such as “it was meant to be,” “you will get better,” “they are in a better place now” are not helpful. Try prayers and simple compassion.

There are things that can be helpful. Spirituality is what gets most of through the day. Talking it out with safe people definitely helps. Any distractions are good. Pets are amazing. Learning to leave the anger behind, especially self-blame, helps a lot. Not feeling guilty for laughing or for having a brief good time is important.

Grieving is never “over.” What happens is that, very slowly, we began to rebuild parts of our lives. Some of the void begins to be filled. We remember and even share the good memories.

Maybe we find a way to honor them.

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