COVID will forever be ingrained in our minds as a time of great loss in its many different forms. With loss comes grief, a topic people often don’t feel comfortable talking about. While grief can feel isolating, it is important to remember the power it has in bringing people together from all walks of life.
My story with grief began just over three years ago. My world was turned upside down on 9th November 2017, when my husband, and best friend, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. We shared a life together for 19 years and were married for 13 years. I was so happy. Rudy was an amazing husband, incredible father, and wonderful friend. I will never forget how devastating it was to look my kids in the eyes and tell them their dad is never coming home again – they were 7 and 10 years old. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Today, I can finally talk about this heart-breaking experience without tearing up. When I think back to that first year after his death, I don’t know how I got myself out of bed every morning. The uncertainty that loss brings is something that can’t be explained until you have lived through it.
Fortunately, I was very blessed to have my faith, amazing family, friends, work colleagues, and my job at The Human Edge that carried me through this time. I had to reinvent myself without Rudy and I had to learn how to do things differently.
It is a privilege for me to be able to share with you a few tips that really helped me move forward; my only hope is that these might help you too:
- Acknowledge pain, express emotions – Come to terms with what you are feeling and never be ashamed to express your emotions.
- Never isolate yourself – Make a conscious decision not to cut yourself off from the outside world or from the people who care about you.
- Accept help from others – I was always the kind of person who would do things myself. It was exceedingly difficult to accept help and support from others, until I realised that when people offer help, it also means something to them.
- Mental and physical health is key – Look after your mind and your body. It is amazing what exercise does for both.
- Stay in a routine – My routine was, and still is, getting up in the morning, having my quiet time, going to gym (my parents have moved in with me, so I am fortunate to be able to do this), getting my kids ready for school and going to work. A simple thing, such as a routine, helps immensely.
I am still on a journey of recovery. I continue to research how to better myself and help my children. At the beginning of my journey, I came across an amazing book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and Adam Grant, an independent Organisational Psychologist. What I love about this book is that, not only does it guide you through overcoming grief (all kinds of grief), but it teaches you how to build resilience for yourself and your loved ones when it comes to finding joy again.
VitalSmarts, our US partner, has also written a very helpful eBook, “How to talk about the loss of a loved one: Do’s and Don’ts of comforting others”. From my experience, people can say the strangest things to a grieving person (unintentionally), but this article guides you on how to deal with people who are experiencing loss.
Getting through tough times and helping others get through it calls for resilience. Building resilience takes time and effort, but the sooner you start building this muscle, the sooner you will find the strength to face times of change and uncertainty.