Coping with Loss and the Mourning Period after Loss

Written by: Brett Melanson – PhD
(Psychology)

Last updated date : March 31, 2022

It can be hard to deal with a loss. Coping with loss is one of the only ways to get better after a loved one passes away. Here, we’ll look at ways you can go through the mourning period after loss so you can know what is natural. You will also learn about ways you can help others who are dealing with loss.

Chapter 1:
Coping with Loss

It can be hard to cope with a loss. We all react to the loss of someone who is special and close to us. Importantly, the way we react to a loss is influenced by the relationship we have with someone. Often, loss makes one feel sad, angry, annoyed, and confused. This results from being so close to someone who has passed on. Most importantly, one is likely to feel grief when someone close passes.

Grief is a natural feeling that can happen after a breakup, losing a job, getting into money trouble, and even retirement. All of these are times when we deal with a major life change, and this gives us grief.

But grief after a loss may be hard to deal with because there are so many things that can remind you of that special person. It is important to know about some of the things that help with grief after a loved one passes away.

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Chapter 2:
Living with Grief throughout the Mourning Period

As mentioned, grief is common. However, the way you deal with grief and why you deal with it may be different. Grief is a common reaction to coping with loss.

But it does not matter whether you grieve because of loss or because of another life change, there are ways you can live with it. Moreover, there are ways you can turn grief into something else like appreciation.

The Fives Stages of Grief

Before you begin to deal with grief, it is important to know the five stages of grief:

  • Denial: You may think, “this cannot happen to me.”
  • Anger: You may begin to think why this happened and if there is someone to blame.
  • Bargaining: You may want to make a deal with a higher power, such as a religious being.
  • Depression: You may begin to lose motivation to do things.
  • Acceptance: You begin to understand and accept that life is for the living.

There is a good chance you will not deal with these stages separately. In fact, you are more likely to go through many of these stages at the same time.

Dealing with Grief

You can try some of these steps to help you through the mourning period and overcome the stages of grief:

  • Talk about how you feel—there is a reason talk therapy exists. Talk about your feelings to literally feel better about them. Often, we always keep thoughts inside of our minds. These can be negative things that we would not normally say out loud. This can also be a natural reaction, and is a way of coping with loss. As well, talking about feelings and thoughts also helps come to terms with a loss.
  • Stay healthy—it helps a lot to get out for a walk and enjoy nature, especially when coping with loss. Things in your house may cue memories with a loved one that just passed. Thus, get out of the house and remove those cues from sight if needed. Exercise is always good for mood as well, so try and go for a run or go to the gym if you can.
  • Try not to make big life changes—grieving days are a thing at work, so take them. Everyone knows that loss is hard to cope with and it takes time to adjust. Try not to sell your home or take on new responsibilities too fast after a loved one passes away. This can cause extra stress and make it hard to cope.
  • Be patient and get help when needed—grieving takes time, you will get better eventually. But importantly, if you find it is very hard to get over a loss, or if it is taking longer than expected, you need to talk to a professional. Psychologists are trained to help people through these hard times, so talk to one.
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Chapter 3:
Helping Others Grieve When They Are Coping with Loss

Sometimes, it may not just be you who is grieving. There may be friends that need a shoulder to lean on. Some of the ways you can help others through grief are:

  • Share feelings and memories: allow and endorse grief; talk about feelings and memories that you share with the person who has passed.
  • Avoid false comfort: You do not want to say things like “it was for the best,” or “this happens a lot and you’ll be better soon.” These are insensitive and do not help.
  • Offer help in ways that actually matter; you can offer to help babysit, cook, or run errands for someone to help them relax.
  • Patience is key: You will find grief is hard to deal with. It can take a long time to get better; be there for the friend and listen more; talk less.
  • Never be afraid to refer them for professional help if needed.
Children Coping with Loss
The mourning period after a loss is quite different for a child. It can be very confusing to a child that does not fully process the concepts of life and death. When a parent dies, it can impact a child’s sense of safety and survival. It can be very confusing if other adults try and hide the truth or protect the child from the live parent’s grief. Young children are not well-equipped to deal with loss due to their limited understanding and lack of ability to talk about their feelings. Because of this, old behaviours may come out, such as wetting the bed. They may also ask questions about the loss that do not seem appropriate. Sometimes, they may even pretend that nothing happened at all. If you know the stages of grief and how to deal with grief, you have the tools to cope with loss yourself or a friend in need. You can also try one of our courses at Epsychonline, which are made to help you know about grieving and how to cope.