Throughout the grieving process, some days are going to be better than others. Some days the pain of grief hits us like a ton of bricks, and for no apparent reason. There’s no warning sign, no rhyme or reason for the pain, it just is. These seemingly “random” days of sorrow can be even harder than the ones you can predict like birthdays or anniversaries. At least with those days you can predict the sadness and respond accordingly. So what do you do when you’re blindsided by a particularly tough day? Here are 4 ways to cope when grief shows up, unannounced.
1. Call a Time Out
The thing about the random sad days is that you never know when they’re going to hit. You could have an important meeting that day, or maybe you’re just home with the kids. For whatever reason, you’re extra sad today and missing your loved one even more than usual. Wherever you are, try to take a break from what you’re doing. Put a movie on for the kids or grab a cup of coffee before that meeting to just be alone with your thoughts.
2. Talk to Someone
Sometimes the best way to get through a particularly sad day is to just talk to someone about it. If you’re seeing a therapist, see if he or she can pencil you in that day. Call up a friend and try to set up lunch plans. Chances are, something sparked your sadness that day, and talking about your grief could help you figure out what it was. Plus, you’ll feel so much better after getting it all out with someone you trust.
3. Let Yourself Be Sad
If you’re having a rough day and you can allow yourself to spend it grieving, then let yourself be sad. Go through your photo albums and memory boxes. Bring flowers or a candle to your loved one’s memorial. Don’t try to toughen up or ignore the sadness if what you really want is a chance to cry and mourn your loss.
4. Do Something Fun
There will be days when the sadness is simply too much to bear. You’re grief is heavy and you just don’t want to deal with it anymore. On those days, think of something light-hearted to do to take your mind off of it. Go to the library and pick out a light read. Watch a season of your favorite comedy sitcom on DVD. If you have children, take them to the zoo or the park. Kids have a way of lightening up any situation with their inherent joy and infectious laughter.
It’s normal to experience these seemingly random sad days, and they’ll probably keep happening long after you think your grief has passed. How you handle these days is up to you. Everyone grieves differently, so find a way that works for you to get through the day.