When a loved one passes away the pain can feel immeasurable. Often, we feel like the grief will never fade away, that we’ll forever be consumed by it. That’s not the case, though. Whether you believe it or not the bereavement process changes little by little every day. You might not notice staggering shifts, but each day after a loss you are working through the grieving process. Some days may feel worse than others because grieving is a process, but that doesn’t mean you’re not working towards acceptance.
What to Expect the First Week
The first week after we lose a loved one can be extremely difficult. We often shift between the denial, anger and guilt stages of grief, which can be extremely overwhelming. Immediately after hearing about a loss, it’s best to remove yourself from social settings to process what has happened. Take the time necessary to truly process your feelings and recognize them for what they are. As you seek out the comfort of trusted friends and family you will begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Over time, during this first week after the loss, you might not notice any subtle changes, but your body is already working through the grieving process.
What Changes Over the First Month
During the first month after loss chances are that you are back at work or reinserting yourself into your normal routine. This is good. It’s important after that initial week of grieving to try and get back to your normal routine. This means that you are working towards acceptance and learning that life must go on even after a difficult loss. You might still have bereavement gifts scattered throughout your house, and that’s okay. Just because a month has passed by, doesn’t mean you have to forget about your loss. It’s normal to still have bad days, but you should be actively participating in society again. If you’re not, it might be a good idea to seek bereavement counseling to help you work through complex emotions.
How the Bereavement Process Changes Over the Course of a Year
After a year has passed, you still might not feel closure. There is no timeline or deadline for grief, but at this point, you should be having more good days than bad days. You might start realizing that whole days are passing by without thinking about your loved one. That’s okay. It’s okay to keep living life. In fact, your passed loved one would want you to move on and celebrate life instead of dwelling in grief.
The most important thing to remember when you are going through the grieving process is that there is no getting over a loss. You can come to accept a loss, but you will never completely be over the loss of a loved one.