My 9 Steps to Coping with Grief

Its been a bit of a strange summer, the first half my daughters and I did lots of lovely summer things, sometimes just with us other times with their friends.

At Coughton Court playing with the sculptures

The second half of the summer was less lovely, my Dad's health deteriorated and I was driving up and down to Shropshire (from Birmingham) every other day. I tried to make it fun for the children, going to Shrewsbury Castle, nice meals out, visiting friends whilst we were there, but always there would be a visit to my Dad.

Seeing my Dad was lovely, but his dementia was very bad and he was very poorly, so it was quite stressful and difficult to see and although I gave my children the option not to see him, they chose to join me every single time.

Dad with his daft face on.

My Dad died on 11th August, since then I have organised the funeral (which is tomorrow), seen the solicitor, sorted out his financial affairs and had a brief holiday with my family in Norfolk.

I have tried (and I think I have succeeded) not to let my Dad's death ruin my children's summer holidays. This holiday is a big deal to both of them. My eldest is going into year 11 and starting her GCSE's and my youngest is going from primary school to secondary school.

I CAN NOT have a melt down right now, I can't let them down, they need to have fun and be children and enjoy their lives, my Dad would not want it any other way.

This is the death of my second parent, so I have dealt with this sort of grief before. When Mum died, I buried it deep inside me until a year later, when I had to take 3 months off work to sort myself out.

When a parent, or anyone you love dies, you need to acknowledge it, let it slap you in the face and you need to allow yourself to be sad, and cry, ALOT. I am not quite there yet, I have cried a bit, late at night after too much wine.

There has been way too much wine drank this summer.

But, I think I have a duty as a parent to keep some kind of balance, I think it's important to show your sadness, but not to collapse and stop and give in. Death is as much part of life as breathing, and although its incredible sad when someone dies, you have to think about what the person who died would want.

Would they want you to just give up on life? I don't think so, I think, if the person you are grieving for loved you, they would just want you to live more, be the best you, you can be. We saw that happen in the blogging community when Kate Sutton died and the #bemorewitwitwoo became a massive thing.

I know my Dad would.

I expect, when the summer holidays are over and my girls are back at school, I will have a couple of days of self indulgent sadness, crying, moaning and hiccuping. Then I will brush myself down and remember what my Dad wanted for me, and try to get on with it as best I can, because life must go on.

They say there are five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

I am no expert, but personally, I'm not sure, I don't think there are stages, I think you can feel all or some of those things all at the same time, and I am not sure its quite as simple as that (and I'm sure the people who talk about these stages would agree). I think there are millions of micro stages to grief, that are individual to you, and how each person copes with death is very different, I don't think one size fits all.

What I do know, is that time heals, everything passes, what was awful this day, 10 years from now will be a distant memory.

Do you remember when you were at school, and something happened, and you were mortified. You thought your life was over, that this was the thing that would define you for the rest of your life. It didn't.

So based on all of the above here is my quick guide to coping with the death of a loved one (In no particular order).

  1. Always remember you are allowed to be sad.
  2. Remember balance, remember your life and focus on the positives there.
  3. Let yourself have a day of two of indulgent sadness, where you cry and look at old photo's and possibly drink a little too much.
  4. Start to think about the future and what the person who has passed away would have wanted for you.
  5. Do something they would have wanted you to do.
  6. If you need it have some more time for yourself, just to be sad.
  7. Tell your loved ones you are sad, let them hug you and tell you how much they love you.
  8. Remember you are loved. 
  9. Remember time heals. 
For further reference, I have spoken about bereavement, here
and here.
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