Coping with the Sudden Loss of a Loved One

“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.” — Helen Keller

Navigating the waters of grief is not an easy process for anyone. When you lose someone you love, it is a challenging experience. Loss often changes you and alters your life completely. And when you experience the sudden loss, well, that loss can feel even more magnified. The unexpected nature of the passing can leave you feeling shocked, angry, resentful, sad or numb. But the truth is, you do not have to fight to stay above the waters of grief alone. 

At Seneca Health Services, we understand that coping with the sudden loss of a loved one is difficult. Everybody is different, and likewise, grief is experienced differently from person to person. If you need an ally, we want you to know that our team is here for you. You are never alone as you walk on the journey towards healing. 

Continue reading to learn more about grief and how to cope with the sudden loss of a loved one. 

What is Grief? 

Grief is a natural, emotional response to loss. When someone attempts to cope with an unforeseen death, they often experience a rollercoaster of emotions and even physical symptoms.

Some common physical symptoms of grief include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lowered immunity
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Aches and pains
  • Insomnia

Some common emotional symptoms of grief include: 

  • Shock and disbelief
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Fear

What are the Stages of Grief? 

Traditionally, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

  • Denial: You may feel shocked or numb
  • Anger: You may feel frustrated and helpless, which later turns to anger
  • Bargaining: You dwell on what you could have done to prevent the loss
  • Depression: You may feel overwhelmed, regretful and lonely
  • Acceptance: You accept the reality of your loss and move forward

Keep in mind that these phases are not linear. The grieving process is highly complex, and these feelings can come and go or appear unexpectedly. Sometimes, people may feel more than one at once, while others may only experience some of them. No matter how you feel, show yourself patience and empathy as you work through the tragedy of your heartbreaking experience. 

How Can You Learn to Cope and Work Through Grief? 

Everyone grieves differently, and there is no timetable when mourning the sudden loss of a loved one. Consequently, do not attempt or let others try to rush your grief. No matter how much time passes, you will always miss that person and cherish their memory in your heart. However, in time, you can also learn to live with the loss you experienced, even if it sounds impossible now. You will never forget your loved one, but rather, their memory becomes an integral part of who you are. 

HelpGuide offers the following suggestions to help you cope and work through the grieving process: 

  • Acknowledge your pain
  • Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions
  • Understand that your grieving process is unique 
  • Seek out support from people who care about you
  • Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically
  • Recognize the differences between grief and depression

Do You Need Professional Help?

Sometimes, grief does not get better on its own. If you are experiencing any of the following thoughts or symptoms, you should contact a mental health professional or your doctor immediately: 

  • Trouble keeping up your day-to-day routine
  • Feelings of depression
  • Experiencing thoughts that life isn’t worth living or of harming yourself
  • Inability to stop blaming yourself

This is also a period where you may be vulnerable to the temptation of using substances to numb the pain you are feeling, especially if you have struggled with these urges in the past. Remember, drugs and alcohol will not cure your heartache. Substance use will only worsen your situation and potentially lead to the development of a substance use disorder or co-occurring disorders. 

Find Help at Seneca Health Services

If you find yourself struggling to cope with grief after the sudden loss of a loved one, consider seeing one of our behavioral health professionals at Seneca Health Services. Our mission is to assist our patients in finding a life they want to live. We understand losing a loved one is painful, but you do not have to navigate this journey alone. 

Our therapy professionals at Seneca help patients cope with any significant problems that they are experiencing. People come to us for mental health assistance for many reasons, including anxiety, behavioral problems, personal tragedy, depression, difficulty dealing with stress, substance use disorders and so forth. When a patient enters our therapy services, they will discover compassion, companionship, understanding and so much more. 

If you need help or have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you or use the link provided here.

Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500

Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659

Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865

Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425