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When You're Losing Someone You Love

Maybe the last thing you want to do is read another article telling you what to do or how to feel—but that’s not what this is.  Losing someone you love is difficult.  No one who’s being honest will tell you otherwise.  We’re just here to let you know that we understand what you’re going through and offer our help if it ever becomes too much.  Especially…

When You Anticipate Grief

Who says the grieving process begins only after someone has passed?  In many cases of terminal illness, there’s an indeterminate amount of time between when the realization sets in and when death actually comes.  While you can certainly try to make the best of the time you have left together, it’s natural to grieve, too.  Not just for the “big” loss, but for all the other events associated with the process. 


Allow yourself to mourn those things you will miss.  Those events your loved one won’t be able to attend.  The highlights of their personality that may already be starting to change.  You can also grieve for what’s about to happen, for the deterioration of their health.


While this isn’t often associated with sudden death, if your loved one is struggling with mental health issues and/or addiction, or some other dangerous path, you may feel stirrings of anticipatory grief.  As humans, we tend to worry about losing those closest to us.  You don’t have stifle those feelings, wherever you are in the process.


When You Want to Help

Then do exactly that.  Even if you have no idea what to do or how to help!  There’s really no rulebook for this.  The main thing is to be there when you can and be willing to offer assistance—in any form.  In some cases, it could be as simple as maintaining pleasant conversation.  Or being present in case they want to talk about what they’re going through.  A lot of people advocate against having serious conversations during the dying process, but again, you need to do what’s right for you.  Maybe your loved one wants to talk about what’s happening.  Or you both have issues you need to resolve before it’s too late.  Either way, try to be prepared for that eventuality without pushing.


Being a caretaker takes many forms.  There are obviously doctors, nurses, maybe even hospice workers involved, but they’re just a part of the picture.  When it comes to comfort, you have the power to help, too.  Whether that’s offering a drink of water or adjusting the pillows/blankets.  These tasks may seem so small, but when you look back you may see them a little differently.  Each act is an opportunity to show you care, which matters a lot in your own grieving process.   


When You’re Not Following the Pattern

Psychologically speaking, we’re always looking for patterns.  Ways to connect people through shared reactions, including grief and loss.  While there are several prominent theories, don’t get too hung up on these.  Although there are many who follow the models, there are also many who deviate.  Plus, experiencing it for yourself is nothing like studying it or seeing it depicted on a graph. 


Every day may be a little bit different.  When you’re losing someone you love, there will always be good moments and bad ones.  After a bad day, you may find yourself feeling sad, yet accepting of the upcoming loss.  Still, if things are looking better a few days later, you might feel angry that this person is being taken away from you!  It’s quite seriously an emotional rollercoaster.  Still, even as you’re worrying and caring for your loved one, you have to try to take care of yourself too.


If you’re feeling completely worn down, maybe sick or depressed, then take a moment to rest.  Think of it this way, your loved one doesn’t want to see you suffer either!  However, if you’re suffering from more serious conditions like insomnia, withdrawal from your regular activities, and/or suicidal thoughts, then it’s time to ask for help.  At The Family Center, we not only help individuals through grief and loss counseling, but we also work with a wide range of mental health issues.  As you’re dealing with losing someone you love, you don’t have to go through this process alone. 

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