How to Deal With Loneliness After the Death of a Loved One
Loneliness after the death of a loved one is completely natural; however, dealing with this intense feeling is never easy, no matter how natural. You may feel lonely not just because the person has passed on, but because people around you may not understand the intense bond you had, and still have, with the loved one who has passed. As they deal with their own sorrow, friends and family may also become less accessible and you may feel very isolated. The world continues on, seemingly oblivious to your loss. Dealing with this loneliness is very important for your emotional and physical health.
Write down phone numbers of friends, family, or counselors who can support you during the roughest moments. Do this as soon as possible after your loved one has passed. If friends and family members are inaccessible, make sure you have professional counselors’ numbers on hand. Place a list of these phone numbers in an easy-to-find place. When you are upset, you won’t want to spend time searching for them.
Join a grief support group in your area. Joining doesn’t mean you must attend meetings if you are not ready. It’s good to have this resource available, however, in case you need to connect with others who understand what you are going through.
Schedule activities or distractions for the hardest hours of the day or night. Many people who’ve experienced the loss of a loved one find that nighttime is the hardest. You may find that other times during the day, or certain days of the week, may be extra difficult as well if you associate these times with special moments with your loved one. Activities need not be elaborate-anything to temporarily distract you enough to ease loneliness is all that is necessary.
Talk or write to the person who has passed away as if he or she were there. Doing this doesn’t mean you are crazy or in denial. It is healing. Although the loved one has passed on, the love and the bond still exists. Acknowledging this is healthy.
Discuss your feelings with a physician if the loneliness feels too overwhelming or you experience physical symptoms. Extreme grief and loneliness can compromise the immune system and cause other physical changes. Grief is hard on the heart not only emotionally, but physically. Some people require extra supportive help, via medications or other medical treatment, during the grieving process. There is no shame in receiving this extra support.