Birthdays, anniversaries and other significant days can cause great pain after the loss of a beloved. Counselors call them grief triggers. Some people have confessed that these days can be more painful than the day itself. Grief itself is a deep distress over the loss, which causes deep pain. No person is immune to grief, but although everybody experience grief we do experience it differently. Some identified phases or stages of grief, but even they agree that grief is not a linear process. Grief doesn't play by any rules and there is no time limit to how long grief can take. The hard reality of grief is that just when you think you have conquered it, the pain can suddenly return anew. That is why anniversaries, birthdays, and other special days tend to reawaken the pain.
We try to avoid these feelings of pain. Even months after the death, we try to continue our lives as if everything is under control. The sad reality of grief triggers quickly show us just how intense grief can be. At least handling grief triggers is possible. The following steps can help:
1. Try to mark all special days on the calendar. This could be hard so you can also ask a family member to help you. This will help you prepare for them.
2. Be honest if you are scared, sad or anxious. Knowing a special day is approaching can cause anxiety. Do not try to act normal. You are grieving and you need to grieve. John James and Russel Friedman wrote in their book "The Grief Recovery Handbook" the following: "I can hardly bear it sometimes. My most recent wave of grief came last year before her sixteenth birthday. As the day approached I found myself brooding over all the things that she would never be able to do. What did I do? What I have learned to do again and again and again: I did what I believed is the only thing to do to conquer grief and that is to embrace it. So, I cried and cried and cried, and faced the truth of my grief head on."
3. Be kind to yourself. This is important, especially since you need to be honest with yourself. Grieving is not something that is quickly dealt with. You have the right to grieve. You need to look after yourself. You can fool others by acting as if you are coping, but eventually you cannot fool yourself.
4. Prepare yourself mentally. All special days can trigger a new onset of grief, but try to prepare for the small triggers. They usually catch us unprepared because they can be anything, a phone call, a song on the radio, a photo, a movie you watched together, or any little activity you shared. A month or two after the death of a loved one, the phone may ring and someone, who is unaware your beloved died, may ask for him or her on the phone. You may find yourself overcome by grief, anger or frustration when trying to explain to the person you beloved died. This is also normal. You cannot prepare yourself for when this happens, but you can prepare yourself that falling apart when it does is not wrong.
You will be able to stand up again. During this healing time, you must focus on yourself and treat yourself well.
5. Express yourself in times of grief. Do not try to hide the fact that you are struggling. Tell the people closest to you. If someone asks you what is wrong, tell him or her that you lost someone close to you and you are busy coping with the loss. Most people will probably give you the space or support you need.
We shy away from grief, but that is not honoring those we lost. If they were important to us, we must honor them by showing how much they meant. That means we should embrace our grief, in their memory. The hardest part of grieving is thinking that you have conquered the grief, only to be blindsided by some grief triggers. Accept the reality that some days will reawaken your pain. Remember that grief is not only triggered by the big days, but can be triggered by something small, like a simple phone call. Humans do have the ability to cope with almost everything and most people to manage to cope with grief in the end. Remembering these five aspects will help you move from grief to healing much easier.