Life Changes


BY: April Ratcliffe, LSW

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss


The death of a loved one may be one of the most difficult experiences we go through. Life changes forever.  

Many have the responsibility of dealing with legal matters, insurance companies, utility and medical bills and the task of cleaning out an apartment or house. Sorting through 30, 40 or 50 years of accumulated items can be overwhelming and so exhausting. Grief can wreak havoc on you mentally, physically and spiritually—your entire being. 

Many decisions need to be made. Where do you begin? From traveling back and forth to having documents signed to going through your loved one’s belongings and deciding whether you should hold on to them or give them away, the business aspect of dealing with a loss is difficult. People may have extended the offer for you to contact them if assistance is needed. This may be the opportunity to reach out and accept support. 

In addition to the many logistical challenges, you may not be eating or sleeping well. You may also be forgetful, confused and anxious. Maybe you are angry or burdened with guilt and fear. Maybe you have developed headaches and feel chest tightness or as though your heart has been ripped out. You may also find yourself angry with God or your choice of a higher power and feel abandoned or betrayed.

How do you go on with life? Remember you are experiencing common grief reactions. There is no magic formula to ease your pain or make it go away. Grief is hard work.  Let yourself experience the pain—do not resist—to begin the healing process.

Be gentle with yourself. Grief takes time and there is no one right way. What helps you cope one day may not be helpful the next. Even though your life has changed forever, working through your grief using coping mechanisms can assist you with the process.

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