Getting through the first 4 weeks after losing a loved one

Nothing compares to the sheer emotional trauma of losing someone you love. Whether it’s your partner, a family member or close friend, the weeks following their passing are often filled with intense feelings of grief – but there are healthy ways to navigate this extremely difficult period.

Managing grief following the loss of your loved one

Grief comes in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, no one can predict the emotional toll someone’s passing will have on you, and often it’s influenced by how expected their death was, their relationship to you, as well as whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one previously.

For example, losing a spouse or partner can involve much more than just grieving their passing – you may also feel that you have lost a shared history together, as well as feelings of loneliness and despair about the future. This often coincides with you having to make decisions about the funeral arrangements and take care of financial obligations.

Comparatively, losing a close friend may not seem like it would be as traumatic as losing a partner, parent or child, but the pain can be just as acute and can overwhelm even the most prepared individuals. That’s why it’s so important to have outlets and a support network to help you begin to process your grief.

3 tips for processing your grief

Many factors will contribute to how and when you start the grieving process. For some it may happen naturally and immediately, while for others there may be a specific point in the first four weeks where bereavement begins to take hold. What’s most important is that you know there is help out there, and you don’t have to go through the loss of a loved one alone.

1. Be aware of the support services available to you

Sometimes just having people around you during this time can be exactly what you need. Having a support network of friends and family can reduce the chances of you suffering from poor health as a result of grieving.

There are also various grief support services that are designed to provide counselling and education to those suffering through the loss of a loved one. Importantly, grief counsellors won’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t do during the grieving process. Instead, they are there to listen and understand more about your needs and offer strategies that may help you cope.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has an extensive list of support services that may be useful to you.

2. How to ask for help when you need it

Whether you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions or don’t feel that your grief is warranted, often it can be hard to ask for help in the days and weeks following a loved one’s death. But being able to reach out to your network is essential for the healing to begin.

If you are struggling to find the right words to ask for help, consider sending a text message to your family or friends. Be specific about when you are comfortable being contacted (days and times), so that they know when you will be available to talk or to get a helping hand with everyday tasks like cooking meals or doing the laundry.

3. Start the grieving process so you can begin healing

There’s no universal way to grieve properly. Everyone experiences the death of a loved one differently, and throughout those first four weeks you will start to realise exactly what it is you need to begin to heal.

  • Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time you need to heal.
  • Don’t embrace solitude – instead, commit to reaching out to your support network and spend time with those you love.
  • Remember to take care of yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep and try to exercise to encourage good mental health.
  • Speaking about your grief can provide much-needed healing, so consider joining a support group or look into alternative grief therapies where you can be among others who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

The support you need

When you lose a loved one it’s normal to feel like the grief will never go away. But with a strong support network and tips to help you grieve healthily, you can navigate the first four weeks so you can start the healing process.

The passing of a loved one is already an emotionally draining time, so having to organise finances for a funeral can be an unexpected and heavy burden. With funeral insurance you could help your family and friends avoid being overwhelmed by funeral expenses at a time when they need to grieve. Consider getting a quote with Guardian Insurance today.