At some stage in our lives we all lose someone we love and grief feels overbearing with no light on the horizon. As time passes however life does need to go on and you will need to look back and enjoy the memories without having to shut the person from your life for fear of your feelings. Losses can also be less hard than death such as the loss of old friends and neighbours as they move, loss of a steady income, loss of children and family as they move on in their lives but at the time you feel grief and pain. Here are some tips to help hold on to that silver lining that is on the horizon.
Cry if you feel like it. There is nobody you need to justify your feelings to. If you feel like a good cry then do so. Crying can bring feelings of relief and cleansing. Don't ever feel that crying is a sign of weakness, if anything it is a sign of strength showing your emotions, how you feel about the situation and can sometimes be a sign to others of your needs and support.
In the case of a lost loved one, before trying to move on make sure you have fulfilled any requests they may have made before passing away. This will take any burdens off your mind and will give you that sense of having supported and achieved their Will.
Understand that there are different processes and stages you need to pass through in your grieving. Sometimes you will experience a deep sadness, like depression. Other times you will feel anger at what happened. Waves of emotion can take over your thoughts. Denial at what has happened, thinking somehow perhaps you can turn back time. Eventually acceptance. You do need to keep in mind also that you may experience these different emotions like a roller coaster at different times for a long time after the loss. Just be aware and cope as the times come.
Look after yourself. Get plenty of exercise, eat properly and try to sleep as well as you can. Getting yourself sick is not going to help the situation and will only enhance your feelings of loss and grief. Your body will have less resistance to cope.
If it is not a death you are coping with try to put the loss into perspective. If it is the loss of your ability to sew or knit any longer work on other things you can do and move on. By keeping things in perspective you won't spend your whole time in a perpetual sense of misery which really will become overwhelming in times of a really serious loss.
Know that it will take time to accept your loss. Be patient and don't berate yourself if you have a relapse. Grief can be a lifetime journey and everyone is different in their reactions and time they take through the process.
Grieve at your own pace. Ignore people who either tell you that you should be grieving more (they often don't understand how you are coping with the situation) or those who tell you not to wallow in self-pity. It is your choice when you move on.
When you feel it is right look to the future. Make plans. Don't feel guilty that you have to move on. If the roles were reversed think how you might feel.
Coming home to an empty house or not being able to pick up that ball of wool, whatever the loss it can sometimes seem disproportionately great but whatever the circumstances you can survive and life will go on.
As we reflect on yet another year gone by since the Great War and the huge sacrifices made for our freedom we at Linku2 had the great honour on a recent visit to Wellington to spend time wandering and reflecting at two amazing exhibitions.
Gallipoli - The Scale of our War
The Gallipoli Exhibition, The Scale of our War, at Te Papa weaves together the stories of a number of people involved in the campaign including a young nurse, Lottie Le Gallais, who searched in vain for her brother who was no luckier than many others ...
The larger than life size models are intricate in every way, created by true artists, you can almost feel their pain and despair as you listen to their accounts of the events around them.
It's almost unimaginable the scale of the loss and devastation at Gallipoli alone. With the campaign lasting less than a year in total, approximately 17,000 Kiwis landed on the beaches at Gallipoli and with almost 3,000 killed in the one campaign our men fought hard and bravely but in this instance it seems it was all in vain. Few realised the hopelessness of the situation and strove onwards with little regard for their own lives. In total the Gallipoli campaign claimed approximately 141,000 casualties for the Allies of which over 44,000 died and for what we ask?
The Great War Exhibition
On the Western Front more than four times the losses of Gallipoli were felt by those brave Anzac soldiers. The Great War Exhibition at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park pays tribute to both the whole Great War and the Gallipoli Campaign. Created by Sir Peter Jackson this is an exhibition well worth a visit when in Wellington.
It's hard to imagine that such a devastating war really only began because of a number of confusing events resulting in distrust and misunderstandings ... and yet these caused over 17 million deaths and over 20 million wounded being the deadliest conflicts in human history.
100 years ago three main battles raged involving our Kiwi troops. The New Zealand Tunnelling Company quarried away extending the old chalk tunnels prior to the Battle of Arras. These men were the first to serve on the Western Fron from early March 1916. The Germans were also tunnelling but it is said the New Zealanders tunneled at three times the rate of the Germans!
The Battle at Messines the main assault floundered and all that was gained was a few kilometres of land at the cost of many lives.
In October the Battle at Passchendaele was a disaster. In a landscape of mud and debris New Zealanders alongside their Ally forces were shot down standing little chance of success.
New Zealand alone suffered over 18,000 casualties in less than a year on the Western Front.
The cost to New Zealand of the Great War was over 16,000 deaths and over 41,000 wounded.
The carnage, the loss, what was it all for? Perhaps we'll never know how the Great War could have been avoided but what we must never, never forget are those who stood up, held their heads high and bravely gave their lives and those who fought alongside them so that we can enjoy freedom. And so we wear our poppies with pride and attend the dawn Parades, listening to the simple but moving melodic harmony of the bugle ... and we remember
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