Loss & Healing

Grieving the Loss of your Loved One

By Ligia M. Houben, MA, FT, CGC, CPC

When a heart is broken, it can be healed. It may take a long time but…grief is not eternal.

When someone you love dies, you experience a sense of emptiness and void in your heart. You may wonder how to live without your loved one. Your heart is broken, and you are grieving. If you are experiencing the loss of your loved one, our hearts go out to you.

In this section, we want to help you find solace for your grief, as we explore ways to heal your broken heart and help you in your healing process. We are here to accompany you on your journey. You do not need to be alone. We are here to offer you a helping and caring hand.

A Moment with Ligia

What is Grief?

When we embark on the grief journey, it is painful, and we may try to ignore it. But, if we have the capacity to love, we have the need to grieve. Grief is not a disease, and the way to express it involves all dimensions, the physical, emotional, social and spiritual. When we are grieving, we may experience shock, disbelief, anger, fear, deep sadness, or guilt. We may have difficulty sleeping or leaving our bed. We may not want to eat, or eat too much. In the social aspect, we may want to be isolated or be always surrounded by people. What about our spiritual dimension? We may get angry at life or God. We may lose faith and feel hopeless. On the other hand, we may get closer to God and chose to inspire others through our story. As we can see, we express grief in many ways, and it differs among people, as each of us has our own story and ways to process the grief. It is a process, and it may take a long time.

We must be compassionate with ourselves and allow ourselves time to grieve. The tears and comforting talks are necessary. There is no specific time for processing our grief. We each process grief at our own pace. We all have our own clock, and we should never compare it with others. People may want to rush you. That’s fine. You have your own clock.

Remember that...

Grief is different for each person.

  • Grief is like a roller coaster; there are ups and downs.
  • Grief can last a long time.
  • Grief is not eternal.
  • Need to Mourn

Mourning is the outward expression of your feelings, as you experience the death of your loved one. It is an essential aspect of your healing process. It involves from sharing your feelings to preparing meaningful rituals. Open your heart to this experience and be compassionate with yourself. As you share your sorrow, and you acknowledge your grief, you realize you are able to heal your broken heart.

Grief & Heal

After the death of your loved one, you may wonder if you will be able to experience joy and embrace life again. You may ponder if there is something you can do to help yourself heal.

Yes…there is. As you embrace the healing process, even in the midst of darkness, you can start appreciating rays of sunshine entering into your life.

We all grieve- as grief is the natural and unique response to a loss. It is necessary to understand that the way we grieve is our own. We cannot compare ourselves with others. We are unique people. Our grief is unique. It is unique because each one of us copes with the loss of a loved one in our own terms.

Yes…there is. As you embrace the healing process, even in the midst of darkness, you can start appreciating rays of sunshine entering into your life.

When we suffer the loss of a loved one, words may escape us to express our grief, but we can still engage in different activities that may help us in the grieving process.

Healing Activities when Experiencing the Death of a Loved One:

  1. Write the story of your loss.
  2. Express your feelings. Do not deny them.
  3. Share with people who can understand you and listen to you.
  4. Keep a journal
  5. Light a candle in memory of your loved one
  6. Read self-help books
  7. Tap into your spiritual dimension
  8. Become a member of a support group
  9. Make a video with photos of your loved one
  10. Make a list of fond memories of your loved one
  11. Write a letter expressing your love for your loved one
  12. Be patient. Grief is a process and is unique to each person
  13. Write a poem to your loved one
  14. Be grateful for what you still have in your life
  15. Be aware that special dates such as anniversaries, birthdays or holidays can be difficult. Be prepared.
  16. Do not pretend you are OK and do not feel pain.
  17. Learn to meditate
  18. Take a walk
  19. Remember that grief is unique. Do not compare yourself to others.
  20. Allow yourself to cry. Tears cleanse the soul.

Love is Eternal

Always remember that the love of our loved ones, stays with us. Although these ties are invisible, they are as precious as gold. These bonds with our loved ones can inspire us to build a life with a higher purpose and greater meaning.

Even if you find it difficult to imagine or accept, there is an opportunity to transform your loss in the midst of your pain, into growth and healing. When you are able to do this, you will realize that there is life after loss and that it can be a beautiful life. Honor your loved one, as they live in your heart.

It is possible to have a meaningful life after loss.

We continue living. We continue remembering. We continue loving.

About the Author

Ligia M. Houben is a Grief Specialist and Life Transitions Consultant. She is a Fellow Thanatologist and Certified Grief Counselor. She is the founder of The Center for Transforming Lives in Miami, Fl.

Copyright 2007, Ligia M. Houben. Some content was taken from the book “Transform your Loss. Your Guide to Strength and Hope.”

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