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Coping Strategies When Losing a Loved One from Afar

Article by Jennifer Scott

There is nothing easy about losing a loved one. Hearing the news from afar can be even more devastating when coping with the newly-formed absence in your life. In tough times like these, you may struggle to find the best path forward and make decisions that are best for you and your family. Here are three questions you should address immediately to figure out how to handle your family’s loss and ensure that you find a healthy way to cope in the difficult times to come.

1. What If I Can’t Make the Funeral?

Your gut reaction may be to drop everything and return home to be with your family for the final proceedings, but this may not always be possible. Securing airline tickets, either due to time or financial constraints, is often the largest hurdle to overcome once hearing you’ve lost a loved one. It’s important to stay realistic, even if your heart is pulling you to act immediately rather than rationally. Contact the immediate family of the deceased as soon as you get the chance. Finding the words will be hard, but you can expect that they will appreciate the call, and you will want to know as much about the situation as you can to assuage any questions that have been lingering on your mind. In this phone call, you will also want to explain your current situation: that you wish to make the funeral, but that you may not be able to make the proceedings given your current situation. They will most likely understand, and appreciate your call and sympathies.

Coping Strategies

2. How Else Can I Show Support?

There are a number of ways you can reach out to the family and show your support from afar. A phone call is a good start, but you might also consider sending out letters to the family. Writing a letter gives you the chance to fully express your feelings. Understand that this might be difficult for you, and you might spend several drafts getting the words you want to say down. Remember the main goal here is to support the family, and help them cope with their grief as well as yours. You may want to send something along with your letter, such as a care package, or flowers. Both approaches are appropriate substitutes when you are unable to make the funeral and will allow you to share and express your grief with loved ones during this difficult time.

3. How Do I Cope?

During the grieving process, it is important to remember that you too are also suffering from the loss. While you may be thousands of miles away from the deceased, the grief you feel is still very close to your heart, and will weigh heavy on your mind for weeks to come. There are various coping strategies you can employ to help you through the grieving process. To begin, you will need a strong support network to help you deal with the loss. Begin letting people who are important to you know about the loss you are going through. Once you allow your friends, family, and coworkers to be aware of your loss, you will open yourself up to their sympathy and support. The worst thing you could do is try to ignore the pain you are feeling. Understand that there will be good days and bad days, and it will take time for things to feel normal again. Find healthy ways to cope with the loss and achieve that sense of normality such as journaling or yoga. A great healing technique to try is Reiki, which uses touch to relieve and heal mental trauma, and removes negative energy in the process such as stress, sadness, and grief. Once the healer removes the negative energy, the path is set to restore the positive energy you felt before the loss of your loved one.

Grieving is a complex process, and once you understand how it works, you will be able to process your feelings more efficiently. Discuss the loss with loved ones near and far, and if you need to talk about it more, consider seeing a counselor. Losing a loved one is never easy, but love does not begin or end with one individual. Do not be afraid to lean on other people, and trust that things will get better in time. When things seem darkest, always remember to look for the light, and never let go of the love you find in life.



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Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.

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