Grieving When the Relationship was Difficult

The loss of a family member is always difficult, but when the relationship was troubled, it can be more complicated. You may have complex feelings about the loss. You might be uncomfortable with how the relationship was when the person died. You may feel things were left unsaid and wish you’d had a more time to work through some of the challenges.

You’re not alone. Here are some strategies for navigating your grief when your relationship was less than ideal:

  • Find someone to talk to. This may be a friend or family member who understands the situation and can help you work through your feelings. It might also be helpful to seek professional counseling. A grief counselor has the experience to help you navigate this difficult time and direct you to a support group where you can find additional help if necessary.
  • Consider rituals or activities to help you work through “unfinished business. ” You might find it helpful to write a letter to the person who has died, expressing things you were never able to say in person. Journaling can also be helpful as a way to put your emotions onto paper. Sometimes writing things down can help you gain a new perspective.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Make sure to practice good self-care, get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. Don’t worry about expectations about what you “should” be feeling, and remember that grief is unique to each individual. Instead of berating yourself about how you could have handled situations differently, treat yourself as gently as you’d treat another person experiencing this kind of conflicted grief.

At Mountain View, we’re more than just a funeral home. Since 1989, we’ve reached out to members of our community with grief support services that help people in a safe, supportive environment. We also provide aftercare to the bereaved at no cost. Visit our website to learn more and find resources to help you through this difficult time. You can also call us at (253) 218-1012 to learn about our facilities, preplanning and all the ways in which we serve the community.

How a Support Group Can Help Someone Overcome a Loss

Losing a loved one is always difficult, and it can be very tempting to shut yourself off as you grieve. The idea of hiding in your house, cocooned from the outside world, may seem appealing. However, it’s actually much better to connect with other people.

Everyone experiences grief differently, but sharing that pain can lessen the burden. Suffering in silence is not the best solution.

You may have a loving and supportive family or a strong network of friends and community ties. If you already have someone you can talk to about your loss, that’s wonderful. However, if you aren’t comfortable talking to someone you know well, or you feel your family and friends are growing impatient with your grief, you might want to consider a support group. This can be an important part of the healing process because you are surrounded by people who understand what you’re experiencing.

There are different support groups for different kinds of loss. For example:

  • Widows and widowers: Being with people who are experiencing the same thing can help you navigate your new reality.
  • Loss due to suicide: Talking about suicide can make people uncomfortable, and often someone who has experienced this kind of loss feels isolated or judged. Meeting others who have experienced the same kind of loss can help you find new coping strategies.
  • Loss of a child : The loss of a child is so devastating that marriages sometimes don’t survive. It’s vitally important to find a safe space to talk about your feelings so you can work through them and start to heal.

We understand that a support group isn’t for everyone. Some people can feel overwhelmed in the face of so much grief, and some can feel pulled down by others’ negative emotions. Others might feel judged or that they’re being given advice that doesn’t apply to them. If the first support group you visit doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t give up on the idea. Grief shared is grief lessened, and if you can find a group that works for you, it can help you on your own journey of healing.

At Mountain View, we are committed to helping people heal after a loss. In addition to helping you plan a life-honoring memorial service, we offer a safe, supportive environment where you can connect with others and share your grief. Additionally, our online grief support assures that you’re never alone, but have access to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit our website, or call us at (253) 205-8672 to learn more.

When the Winter Blues Make Healing Hard

Many people feel down in the winter. The shorter days, the deep darkness and the cold weather can all have a negative impact on mood. A loss can exacerbate feelings of melancholy and push some people to the brink of despair. How do you get through something as painful as losing a loved one when the winter blues make it hard to heal?

First, be patient with your own negative emotions. It’s normal to grieve a loss, and it’s not unusual to feel down during the winter. It’s important, though, to embrace your feelings without letting them overcome you. You can work through your loss and sadness, but you need to be proactive.

  • Get outside. Exposure to natural light is an extremely important part of fighting negative feelings in winter.
  • Make sure you’re getting exercise. Exercise is a mood lifter, and even a little bit of exercise can get your heart pumping and improve your physical and emotional health. Work out along with an exercise video, put on some music and dance, hit the gym or go to the mall and walk around. Even in the winter, you can find ways to keep moving.
  • Accomplish something. Find a project and make it your goal to get it done before spring. Staying busy is a great way to lift yourself out of sadness.
  • Watch what you eat. It’s tempting to curl up with your favorite guilty pleasure and eat your troubles away, but that’s really not effective. It’s better to eat healthy foods that help your body run more effectively, including mood boosters such as berries, avocados, tomatoes and nuts.
  • Do something to honor your loved one’s memory. Create something meaningful such as scrapbook or a journal full of memories. Remembering your loved one and reliving fond memories is one way to work through grief and hasten healing.
  • Talk to a friend. If you have someone to talk to, make the most of that. Talking is a good way to get through your grief, and your friend may be able to help you find your feet and adjust to your new reality.
  • Consider a support group. If you don’t have someone to talk to, or you feel your friends and family are growing impatient with your grief, think about joining a support group. Often tailored to specific types of grief, support groups are a good resource, providing a safe space to express negative emotions around people who understand and can offer advice.

Mountain View is more than just a funeral home. Committed to promoting healing in our community, we have a grief support program with resources to help you cope with loss and sadness. Visit our website for more information, or call us at (253) 205-8672 to learn more.

Comforting Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Losing a loved one is always hard, but losing someone to suicide can also be very isolating. People who have suffered a loss due to suicide may feel they’re facing judgment from those around them. After such a devastating loss, it’s very important to have the support of friends and family members. Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen. The best thing you can do is to listen without judgment. Allow your friend to tell the story over and over if that’s what he or she needs to do to process it. Everyone experiences grief differently, so it’s important to let your friend express grief in his own unique way.
  • Watch what you say. It can be hard to know what to say in such a difficult circumstance, but that doesn’t mean you should say nothing. Just follow a few important guidelines.
    • Don’t use the term “committed suicide” because it implies a crime . Instead say “died by suicide” or something similar so that you don’t appear to be condemning or placing blame.
    • Don’t use clichés such as “He’s at peace now” or “She’s in a better place” or “You’re so strong.” It’s better to admit that you don’t know what to say, and acknowledge that this is a terrible thing for your friend to be experiencing.
    • Don’t be afraid to say the person’s name. Saying the person’s name acknowledges that this was a real person who mattered. Rather than focusing on the way the person died, it’s important to acknowledge the life that was lived.
    • Acknowledge that you don’t really know what to say. Tell your friend that you know you can’t possibly understand how this feels, but you’re available if you’re needed. Your honesty will be appreciated, along with your sincere offer of help.
  • Offer practical support. Instead of putting the ball in the court of the grieving person, notice things that need to be done and offer to do them. This may mean bringing a meal, taking care of children or running errands. It could mean waiting until the initial shock has worn off and then helping clean out a closet or donate items that belonged to the person who died. It might mean taking your friend out for a coffee, to see a movie or to do some other small thing that will help life feel normal.

More than just a funeral home, Mountain View is committed to caring for families in our community, helping them to heal from loss and grief. We offer grief support for those who have suffered a loss, including support groups and online support that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us today by visiting our website or calling (253) 205-8672 to learn how we can help.

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