HomeTop StoriesEscaping the spiral of heartache

Escaping the spiral of heartache

When a loved one dies, either unexpectedly or after a long illness, the surviving relatives typically face a challenge.

“First of all, it is important to understand the reality of death and the need to accept it,” says Marei Rascher-Held, co-chair of the German Federal Association for Bereavement Guidance (BVT).

Many experts in the psychology of grief no longer speak of “stages” of grief that one passively goes through, but rather of active “tasks” of healthy grieving, especially in cases of traumatic losses such as the death of a child or bereavement. to an accident, natural disaster, murder or suicide.

“The grieving process is not linear, but a spiral, because it continually returns to heartache,” says psychotherapist, grief counselor and author Roland Kachler, adding that all bereaved people initially have a single problem to deal with: simply shapes how you will survive and continue living.”

But first you have to face reality – literally, says Rascher-Held: “It is extremely important to say goodbye at the coffin, because then death becomes really final for you, whether you expected it or not.”

It also helps to see and touch the deceased, even if the death is the result of suicide or an accident. “The sight of the body won’t stay with you,” she says. “In your memory, and in the connection with the deceased that you continue to seek, it will become whole again.”

Task 1: Take action and a little help from your friends

You also need people around you who will support you as you grieve and do simple things for you without being asked – for example, preparing a meal every now and then. “These are basic expressions of caring,” Kachler says.

See also  Committee candidates from District 4 usually outrank candidates from District 2

It is not enough for someone to say to the relatives, “You can always call on me,” and then wait for a signal, he says, because “in this existential situation they will not call.” They are busy with themselves and don’t do that. I don’t want to be a burden to others.”

Well-intentioned advice such as: ‘You have to learn to let go!’ can even be counterproductive, says Kachler. On the contrary, his advice to the relatives is to preserve the memory of the deceased and integrate it into their lives. Their love for the deceased may continue, while their grief over the loss may diminish.

For many relatives, it can be helpful to reminisce and organize photos, or to set up a memorial space in their home where they can regularly light a candle or arrange fresh flowers.

Or they can sit quietly in a place that was important in their relationship, or in an armchair or at a table, where they can have an inner conversation with the deceased.

Task 2: Let your grief flow

The second thing you need to do is learn to live with your loss. When you see that your husband’s place at the dinner table is now empty, or that your child’s school bag is unused, the pain of loss is acute. “Then it is important to let your grief flow,” says Kachler.

Rascher-Held says she has discovered that writing can also provide comfort, such as writing down memories, keeping a grief diary or writing a letter to the deceased. “It’s important to express yourself so that the sadness comes out,” she says.

See also  The Christian gathering in Sacramento draws thousands of people during Pride

Surviving relatives often struggle with a tangle of emotions. ‘Sometimes there is also intense anger about the ‘injustice’ [of the death]or a feeling of powerlessness so strong that you think it will never go away.” Joining a grief support group can be particularly useful, Rascher-Held notes.

Self-help discussion groups are generally unappealing to men, says Kachler, who says men are often better served by active workshops, walks or weekend bike rides with other grieving men: “Men grieve while they’re doing things.”

Task 3: Find refuge for the deceased

The third task, as Kachler sees it, is maintaining your love for the deceased and finding “a good, safe and protective place” for them. For some relatives that place is with God or in eternal light, for others it is in nature, a star, a rainbow or within themselves.

Task 4: Adjusting to life without the deceased

Finally, it is important to adjust to life without the deceased and move on. “The empty space will certainly remain, but life goes on and the deceased will be part of it as an inner companion, as a source of energy or as a resource,” says Kachler.

Above all, “your life must have meaning and bring happiness again,” he adds, although this will be more difficult now after your heavy loss. So how can you make it easier?

See also  Catching up with actor Shemar Moore ahead of the SWAT season 7 finale

“Very carefully do small things that benefit you, and resolve the question of loyalty in an inner conversation with the deceased,” says Kachler, admitting that in the year and a half immediately after your loss, especially if it was serious, this is only partially possible.

Rascher-Held recommends becoming aware of your own resources and what you used to enjoy doing. “It really helps a lot to examine your biography and realize what you were like before the person died, who you were before your world fell apart. Where can you rediscover yourself?”

You should think about whether there’s something you’ve always meant to do that you now have time for, she says. “You allow yourself to do things that feel good to you, and it’s okay to do them,” whether it’s signing up for a dance class, going on a trip, or taking up painting.

“The empty space remains, and that’s okay. The loss is now part of your life and your biography,” says Rascher-Held. “You have lost an important person, but you continue to live your life and try to find new meaning in it.”

Kachler offers hope for the bereaved as they tackle the various tasks of healthy grieving: “When you complete them, they’re really done,” he says, which doesn’t mean your grief disappears without a trace.

“There will always be times when it hits you again,” says Kachler, such as on certain anniversaries or special occasions. However, it will not be as intense and manifest more as “a little sadness” or melancholy.

Anyone who loses a loved one is caught in a maelstrom of emotions, from bewilderment and anger to a guilty conscience.  We asked grief counselors what you can do yourself and how others can support you.  Christin Klose/dpa-tmn/dpa

Anyone who loses a loved one is caught in a maelstrom of emotions, from bewilderment and anger to a guilty conscience. We asked grief counselors what you can do yourself and how others can support you. Christin Klose/dpa-tmn/dpa

Rituals can provide comfort and shine light in dark times.  Christin Klose/dpaRituals can provide comfort and shine light in dark times.  Christin Klose/dpa

Rituals can provide comfort and shine light in dark times. Christin Klose/dpa

Cherishing the memories – this also helps you integrate the loss into your own life.  Christin Klose/dpaCherishing the memories – this also helps you integrate the loss into your own life.  Christin Klose/dpa

Cherishing the memories – this also helps you integrate the loss into your own life. Christin Klose/dpa

- Advertisement -
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments