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Supporting Surviving Family Members of
    Homicide & Violent Crime Victims

Grief Help

How to cope with grief

The pain of losing of a loved one is life-changing, and it is important to know how to cope.

Take life one day at a time.  Even one hour at a time.  Try not to think greatly about the future and all of the numerous obstacles in it that are to come or make major decisions, but instead spend each day with just that day in mind and accept the comfort of family and friends

Give yourself permission to grieve. The feelings you bury will not go away. Taking the time to grieve allows you to admit how deep your loss is and eventually allows you to face life with renewed hope.

Allow yourself to experience your feelings.  Even though your natural instinct will have you to shy away from pain, especially when the pain of losing a loved is unbearable and feels like your heart has been ripped out your chest, in order to heal, you have to acknowledge your feelings, express it and work through it.  You can try to suppress your grief, but that will only delay the grieving process, and eventually the pain and sadness can manifest itself in unhealthy behaviors. 

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without apology or embarrassment. It’s okay to be angry, to scream, to cry or not to cry. Just as it’s okay to laugh, and find moments of joy.

Take care of yourself.  It is more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a traumatic loss can reduce your energy level, appetite or your ability to sleep. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. 

Tears are not a sign of weakness.  Crying is nothing you should be ashamed of.  Tears testify to your love for the one who died and that you are sad.  Tears can help you heal. 

Avoid alcohol and medications.   The use of alcohol and medications are ways individuals cope to dull their pain. Suppressing your pain can be counterproductive. The use of either drugs or alcohol may actually extend and prolong the grieving period.  Only use medication if it is prescribed to you and you are under doctor’s supervision.

Join a support group grief.  Surround yourself with those who have experienced similar losses.  Having extra support and establishing relations with other survivors can be a great help. 

If your grief feels like it is too much for you to bear, seek an experienced therapist to help you work through those intense emotions.

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