Jun 16, 2017

7 Unique Ways to Grieve Over the Deceased

Last week, my 84 year old grandmother passed away. She was a modern day Wonder Woman, always smiling in the face of difficulty, and an inspiration to many. Being that I am half a world apart from my family, I did not have the luxury to commiserate with them or to send my parting wishes to my grandmother directly.

Instead, to handle the sadness that griped at mine, I had to get creative with handling my grief. Because there inevitably will come a time when you find yourself in the same situation, here is what I did to grieve over the deceased:

1. Get outside

One of the first things I do whenever someone close to me passes is get out of the current environment. I separate myself from the four walls of my room to get outside where the sky is boundless.

Although I am not religious, I do believe that everything in this universe is beneath the same “sky,” that we are all connected, dead or alive. My beliefs aside, fresh air cleanses the mind and body. Greenery is a mood booster. So get outside and walk.

2. Write letters

The process of putting thoughts down on paper has always been cathartic. Journaling and letter writing helps many people through their toughest dilemmas. As it turns out, doing the same for the deceased has an incredibly calming effect.

My grandmother always wrote me letters throughout the years, and I have kept most of her cards. In a way, writing to her and rehashing the memories helped me unload in ways that I couldn’t express otherwise. Plus, it felt like I was sending her my heart, even though she’s gone.

3. Do something your loved one enjoyed

My grandmother loved food. One of the thing we always loved to share was pizza. When she passed away, I had gotten a wild craving for some pizza, so I headed out to the grocery store to pick up a slice. I closed my eyes and imagined all those moments we spent gathered around a fresh pie, laughing. I will confess it took me a good 10 minutes to eat a single slice, since I was crying. But it was worth it.

Read also – 7 Ways to Be Innerly Happy Through Grief and Despair

4. Get nostalgic

Old photographs, letters, videos, and the like can truly help mitigate the feeling of “loss” that comes with death. These tokens are reminders that the person did indeed play an integral part in your life. I always carry little knickknacks around with me that are from my loved ones. I will give a few moments throughout the day whenever I feel lonely to just glance back at pictures or hold that tiny token in my hand while I meditate.

5. Pursue your passions

Dance has always helped me overcome struggles. So, when I am in physical or emotional pain, I will turn on some music and just let my body move. Sometimes I use my emotions to choreograph. Other ways to use your grief to motivate your passions is to tap into your feelings (like me with choreographing).

Draw how you feel. For example, whenever I am depressed or sad, I will randomly start drawing eyes of all shapes and sizes. It helps me shed invisible tears. Or, you can sing. Cook. Paint murals. Write poetry. Or emulate the deceased and do something they enjoyed to pass the time by.

6. Reach out to others

Never close yourself off from the world when you are grieving, even if it feels right. Someone out there cares. Although I am not physically with my family right now, we did connect over Skype to share some memories about Grandma and talk about the final moments. It has always been this way.

If family is not immediately available to you, engage with friends. Socialize. However, if the grief becomes too much of a burden, and you feel like interacting with people will not help, I must insist in seeing a therapist to help you overcome the shock and pain. Talking about it will help – but you have to be willing to let it out.

7. Moving meditation

Though I briefly mentioned dancing before as a creative outlet, it is also my form of moving meditation. That said, you may seek solace in going for a run, swimming laps, doing yoga or tai chi, or even engaging in tasks like dish washing, laundry folding, and wood or metalworking to keep the mind busy (or calmed) while the body works through the crisis. In other words, do not just binge watch Netflix all day long. Lying motionless will not help you overcome the pain but will leave you mired in it.

Read also – A Message of Empowerment to the Girls Feeling Down

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to do is accept that they are truly gone. I am still having moments of disbelief, but these unique ways to grieve over the deceased have help me cope. I hope that when the time comes, these methods will be useful to you too.

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