No human life is unscathed by loss, in one form or another, at one time or another. Be it parents, siblings, friends, or God forbid, children … it is always, always devastating and will rock you to the core.

There’s no one-size-fits-all on this journey, but one thing remains the same for everyone: it’s never easy. It is a physical, emotional, social, spiritual and psychological response, and it affects every part of your life … grief hurts.

Although there is no shortage of advice, no book or article can adequately prepare you for the loss of a loved one. Loss will suddenly and irrevocably change the course of your life, breaking the line from the past you’ve cherished to the future you’ve counted on.

And, although you will never get over the loss of a loved one, you will learn to live differently.

Here’s how: Embrace your emotions. There will be an urge to stay strong and push through, perhaps for others or simply for your own sake. At times, this will serve you well but recognise the pain and allow yourself to feel it. It is okay to feel the way you do. Talk about it and give yourself permission to hurt as you gently seek a new normal.

Preserve the memories. Sadness, anger, exhaustion; these are all normal. But, focus on the good memories and keep them strong in your heart. Know that you can (and will) feel better over time.

Ask for and accept help. You can’t do this alone. When you’re in the early days of bereavement, it can feel impossible to take care of all that needs to be taken care of; paying the bills, housework, grocery shopping … Friends and family will want to help, be specific about what you need. Get professional help with financial and legal matters to help you plan for the future and save money in the long run.

Take care of your kids. Remind them that they are not alone in what they are feeling and reassure them that they will be okay. Remind them of all the people who love them and who are there to take care of them.

Take your time. You don’t need to do anything until you’re ready. You may want to give special treasures to family members while other things can be boxed and stored until you’re ready to release them. You may find comfort in sleeping with something of a loved one which still has that faint smell of perfume or aftershave.

Be kind to yourself. Get fresh air, eat healthy and try to get plenty of rest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your GP or a counsellor.

Prepare yourself for moments of extra grief. A song, a smell, a place or a picture could make you smile or cry. Birthdays and anniversaries can be tough. Try to be with people who care about you on those days.

Don’t be disturbed by your first laugh. You’ll never forget the person who’s gone; you can never do that, and you should not worry that you’re going to.

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes it’s calm, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.