How To Talk To A 4 Year Old About Death The Forgotten Factor in Coping with the Death of Your Loved One

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The Forgotten Factor in Coping with the Death of Your Loved One

No one is immune to the sad experience of grieving the death of a loved one. Yet, until death comes into our lives and someone important is no longer with us, our culture teaches us to deny death and minimize its impact on quality of life. Then, if we’re lucky, we get a crash course in grief from a counselor, a clergy person, or a social worker.

No matter what we learn in this day and age, we have long been burdened with half-truths and false beliefs perpetuated by well-meaning adults. These assumptions and beliefs make it difficult to reach the ultimate goal of all grief: accepting the reality of the loss. Acceptance means saying an intellectual, but more importantly, an emotional “yes” to this great change in our lives.

Acceptance only comes through the concerted efforts of those who are grieving. Contrary to an old piece of misinformation, time does not heal all wounds, unless the grieving person does his grieving work. Or, as a mother once told me after the death of her son 17 years old in a car accident, “Time does not help unless you work between the minutes.”

The key understanding is that you must take daily action towards acceptance and reinvestment in life. All of these things are easy to say but hard to do. So what form should the action take? Here are five beginnings.

1. Talk to yourself every day and night that you will find in this dark soul searching experience. What you say to yourself not only affects every cell in your body for better or for worse, but it will heavily affect the necessary actions that only you can initiate.

2. Although essential, positive self-talk alone is not a panacea. You must start engineering small successes in order to realize you can adapt to this big life change. This is the key factor. Make a plan to get you through that particular day (even the next) or one that you believe will be difficult for you. Maybe working part-time would be a success for you or getting to your tax return on your own for the first time. Find something and go for it as it will strengthen your inner life.

3. Recognize how far you’ve come. When you review your day, give yourself credit for where you are in your journey. If it was only a month or several months, remember that you still go and will continue to persist. Every day tell yourself you will stick to it and know that things will change for the better. Your consistent action to adapt will make the difference. Celebrate your progress with a trusted friend who knows your pain.

4. Examine why you are where you are in your grief work. What skills did you use? Or what hidden talent did you discover that you didn’t realize you had? Something takes you far. Your ability to organize? Your commitment? A belief? Your faith? Do you know you are not alone or how to relate to caregivers? Keep using whatever it is and work to develop it even more. In short, recognize and use your strengths.

5. Begin and end each day with memories of gratitude. This will be especially helpful when you feel the downward spiral and anxiety about your loss starts to creep in. Review your day for the good things that happened-an old friend called, you found your lost key, you got a raise, you. the computer works well, etc.-and completely immerse yourself in the good feelings. This is good mental health to do. Also, review your life with the deceased, and choose some memories of gratitude. Focus on all that you have received and immerse yourself again in the feeling of being loved by a Higher Power.

In the final analysis, your actions that cause little success, will be the determining factor in eliminating unnecessary suffering in your time of mourning. In the process of adapting, get rid of the notion that you can not have some moments of happiness and inner peace. We all need to balance the sadness and negative thoughts that constantly enter our thoughts. It’s okay to smile, feel good, or make a laugh without feeling guilty-that’s part of the action you can take with another small success. It will recharge you as you return to continue to adjust to your great loss.

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