Driving in the car after work use to be a subtle relief of quiet after a long day; But now the silent drive is heaviness on your shoulders… the weight unbearable as you drown in stage four of grieving and depression.
If you read my Thrive Global release, The Truth about the Five Stages To Coping With Death And The Road To Recovery, I go into detail of the truths and feelings during the grieving process. I also accompany these truths, with solid plans, for the healing processes.
In this article I’ll explain each road to recovery in further detail, helping you during dark days of stage four, depression.
Visit The Cemetery:
I can not emphasize how difficult this process can be. For some people it is a given, they spend days in and out at their beloved’s grave, which in turn, in an opinion state, can become unhealthy.
What is the right amount of time to spend at a grave?
There is no good answer this question, except, “You need to be emotionally and mentally functional in the world around.”
Most likely if you are over indulged in the memories and loss of your loved one, you have back tracked to stage four: depression, and you need to find stage five: acceptance again. There are many things that can trigger stage four including birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, major life events, or certain months or day of the year (subconsciously triggering memories we forgot were there) Visiting the cemetery and seeing that grave marker is an emotional forceful way to return to stage five.
Make It Special ~
I can’t emphasize enough the importance to make this trip to the cemetery special in your own way.
For Example: I take little green army men to my dad’s, grandpa’s and uncle’s site. I spread bird seed around both my grandma’s, as they so much enjoyed to set out their feeders. I found firefighting toys for my one uncle, a proud, honored fire fighter he was. (I also have set Disney’s Goofy figurine, baseball, flags etc. for my dad.) Finding special things for your loved one and leaving it behind gives you a satisfaction of taking care of them.
I have seen cards and pictures left behind, my cousin makes sure to give everyone a Christmas tree… these little things help comfort us, though they are gone, we can keep their memory alive.
While writing comes easy for me, I know to most it does not. However, on any level of writing, I can guarantee this is a sure way to relieve pain. One of my favorite times to write is when I’m feeling nostalgic. Most times, I’m not in stage four: depression, but in stage five, acceptance. I miss my loved one and the memories that flood through my mind are fun and capturing. This is the best time to write for your future generations.
It doesn’t have to be complete or perfect, but get your memories down in writing so your loved one isn’t another picture or name in a family tree. We are in a millennium where documentation is easily shared and accessible to share our loved one’s stories, struggles, strengths, and character that no one else might have encounter during their life.
There is nothing more satisfying to document your love one, and keep them alive for generations to come.
On The Topic Of Writing
Sometimes, it’s not writing about them… sometimes we fall back into stage four, depression, over the holidays or a special event we desperately wish to share with our beloved.
There is nothing more comforting than writing a letter.
A letter allows you to spill your feelings in a safe place, on paper, computer or journal that is meant only for your eyes. You can even write a letter and send it on its way by feeding it to a fire or mailing it without a return address. (my dad would cringe at that thought, a former postal employee – ) But, it’s true.. these acts bring so much emotional release to your soul, allowing stage five to seep back in your life.
Perhaps you are not a person who has been into scrapbooking, no worries, websites today have allowed you to easily load photos and transition them into a book. Your own personal memos on photos will add to the charm of your scrapbook.
My favorite idea of doing this is when you have children (or grandchildren) that never had the chance to really know your loved one. You can incorporate photos into the book and write captions with your fondest memories with the photos. It makes for fun reading, keeping alive memories for generations.
It sounds cliché but I am believer in the power of prayer, whomever you are praying to.
Faith is so important when losing someone you love, it heals your heart in ways that no one else can and leads you to everyday acceptance.
I personally do not attend a church on a regular basis, at this point in my life, but in my belief, I continue to include my beloved in nightly prayers. (sadly, the list grows longer the older I get…) Positively, each night I am able to express my love and yearning for my loved ones on the other side, giving me peace for tomorrow.
If you are a faith seeker, go to your church, be surrounded by people who want to care about you. If you want to be a faith seeker, find something that is comfortable and positively feeds your soul. If you are not a faith seeker, it’s okay, there are plenty of other ways to find peace.
When a love one passes there can be unresolved issues. Sometimes, figuring these unresolved feelings out on your own drives you further into stage four. Seeking out and talking with a professional can help you work out the feelings that haunt your subconscious mind.
Feeling lost in a world that continues to move on around you can be difficulty adjusting. Sometimes we turn to alcohol or other addictive substances to numb our feelings. Truth is, most of the times these substances just enhance those negative feelings driving us to do things out of character.
If you need extra assurance that you are not alone, there are grieving support groups within churches and your community where other people can relate to your feelings. (They need you as much as you need them…)
I strongly recommend any type of counseling or support group if you find your self on a destructive path.
There is something comforting about picking up a self-help book and reading the words from an author that understands you.
The feeling of being alone or isolated can slip away as you find comfort in familiarity, someone expressing the emotions you hide from your daily world.
There are so many books, library is a key source if you don’t want to buy. (Healing After Grief: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief by: Martha Whitmore Hickman is one of my favorites.)
Never underestimate the power of reading…
There is a lot of soul searching to be done after anyone you love passes on. The most important thing to know and understand is that you are never alone in your pain. One of the hardest things in life is death. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out.