In coping with your loss and grief, what resources have you found helpful?
A few weeks after my husband had passed, l remembered the flood of messages still coming through. As people gave their heartfelt condolences, I would acknowledge them, but every emotion l felt was foreign deep inside. I asked myself over and over again, how does this happen? Will l make it through today? Or Tomorrow? Or this week?
Amid all these messages of condolences, l couldn’t see anyone that looked like me, anyone that could understand a bit of the pain l felt. I couldn’t see a 29-year-old widowed 10 months into their marriage. In my attempt to want to find that someone, l went on Instagram and typed in a hashtag l never thought I would: #widowedyoung
What followed next were pictures, stories, and videos of young women worldwide who had experienced the same thing l had. At that moment, l didn’t feel as isolated as l thought l was. Scrolling through the images, l could see words l could relate to “today l woke up feeling numb and not understanding why” or “l miss him it hurts”.
With nothing to lose, l sent DMs to more than a dozen women. One message was to Tosin Odunsi @lifebytosin, a doctor based in the USA who lost her husband young. I messaged her with my name and all the details of my emotions, how hard l was finding it to navigate the reality of my loss and my emotions.
Within a few hours, she responded, she gave me her condolences, and she also said words that helped me “Right now, all l want you to do is whatever you want. There is no wrong or right response. Ask for help. cry, scream, whatever.”
Soon after, more responses came through. Some with recommendations, others which helped reinforce how l felt. For the first time, l saw women that looked like me. Some were 1, 2, 3 or 5 years into their grief journeys, but I could see that they were still standing, and that gave me hope to think that maybe l could also find a way to live life again.
While my method was unconventional, l believe that the accessibility to modern technology can help us through some of the darkest times we face. We no longer need to feel like no one understands us. Grief alone is isolating, and while it is unique to an individual, certain feelings or thoughts are the same.
Are there any resources you found helpful in coping with loss and grief?
Below are five resources that can help you in coping with your loss.
- Books on Grief and Loss
Reading is a great way to help you see people’s journeys over a while. Stories help you know that what has happened is not the end. It may be a very horrible bump but it is not the end.
- One of the books that helped me was Made for Brave by Alyssa Galios. It is raw, honest, and transparent, and while the loss of her spouse was utterly different to mine, every time I read the book, l could feel every emotion. Maybe you may feel like reading something like a novel is too much.
- Embracing Life after Loss (a gentle guide for growing through grief) by Allen Klien is a great companion. At most, you are committing to reading two pages. The book takes you through 6 stages and includes quotes and stories.
- It’s OK that You’re Not OK by Megan Devine is also a great book which confronts the reality of grieving.
There were so many times Instagram got me. Including messaging women who had experienced loss to me. Following accounts on grief and loss helped me. I was confident that l would see a post that would help me every day.
A great account is @alexmammadyarov. Alex started the page after experiencing the loss of her parents and is a qualified CBT therapist. Seeing posts that convey a message saying “there is a way through” or “as much as we accept the reality that they are gone, the loss never becomes less surreal.
As much as we know it is true, it is always impossible. Other accounts like @goodgrief_uk and @thegriefspace help in seeing out there other people that understand what you are going through because they have also been through it.
- Ted Talks
Youtube is full of videos, diaries, and interviews on various topics relating to coping with grief, from 5-minute videos to longer ones. You are guaranteed to find something that will speak to your type of grief. For example, I spent time watching Ted Talks on grief. The journey through loss and grief by Jason B. Rosenthal who lost his wife to a terminal illness was thought-provoking.
Additionally, “when someone you love dies, there is no such thing as moving on” by Kelly Lynn, who also lost her husband unexpectedly was relatable as she challenged the idea of ‘moving on.’
Similar to Nora McInerny Ted talk which stated that “we don’t ‘move on’ from grief, instead we ‘move forward’ with it as she encourages those who have been bereaved to shift how they approach grief.
Here is another Ted Talk – by Karen Milsap, a grief consultant who shares her story of becoming widowed at 29 years old. Karen says “We can’t predict life’s hardships, but we can choose how they impact our journey”. Which is inspiring to hear for those past the initial mourning period of their loss.
As a Christian, it was not only difficult for me to understand my loss, praying had also become a foreign language. What also didn’t help was the timing of my husband’s death. I reached a moment when l asked God, “What does this mean? What wrong did l do for this to happen to me” One day, l thought, “You know what, Lord, nothing happens without your approval, and you signed off on this?
You will have to help me get through it because l am not going to anyone else. I will give how l feel, think raw and real.” After that, I would sometimes receive random sermons from people or find them on Youtube. Most times a sermon would just play in the background. There were some messages l would listen to and cry so much.
Over time, whenever I felt like I was struggling with something, l would google a sermon relating to it, with my go-to sermons being Nothing Just Happens by TD Jakes, Treasure in the Darkness by TD Jakes and Living with Loss by Tony Evans.
I haven’t really listened to many podcasts but I know two of our editors of the balanced wheel team have podcasts.
They are both UK-based podcasts that speak about various losses and share personal stories that support those grieving. Feel free to check them out as they might be helpful for you.
In Every Season podcast
Widowed, Dating and Bold Dreaming | In Every Season – In Every Season
- Widowed, Dating and Bold Dreaming | In Every Season
- Moving On from Toxic Relationships | In Every Season
- Children's Perspective on Surviving a Pandemic Part 2 | In Every Season
- Children's Perspective on Surviving a Pandemic | In Every Season
- Losing my Paternal Figures | In Every Season
- I’ve lost my Parents and Grandparents | In Every Season
- Inner Healing Helped me Lose Weight | In Every Season
Thinking Outloud podcast
Episode 88: Mothers Of Angels Ft Tara Alexis – Thinking Out Loud: A Podcast On Grief And Mental Health
Technology, for me, played a big part in how l navigated and heal from aspects of my loss. Hearing stories of those who had passed through a similar journey helped me to feel less alone. In saying that, does this mean that my loss all now makes sense? Absolutely Not! And that’s OK.
I know I can never tie a perfect bow on it. I let it be. That’s what coping with loss means for me, and l don’t think I could have reached the place I am without a combination of all the resources mentioned.
It may be that my suggestions may not fully resonate with you as you may have experienced a different type of loss, however, I would urge you to find an online community, grief support group, or listen to a podcast while you are out on a walk.
I would like to know what resources have been helpful in your loss and grief journey. Drop some links to resources that have been pivotal to your healing journey.