Most psychologists unanimously agree that it may take up to 18 months on average for people to not experience significant levels of grief. During this period, most people report that their life may have returned to near normal even though they haven’t forgotten the tragedy of loss that struck them.

The heartache of missing a lost loved one can become even more painful, especially if there is a significant date that’s coming up, be it an anniversary or birthday. Formerly joyous moments can bring waves of grief and reminders of loss.

For those who are still dealing with the death of a loved one, here are some ways to help you cope.

1. Let out your emotions

When grieving the loss of a loved one, you will likely remember the good moments you shared with the deceased, especially on special dates. These memories can trigger intense emotions and grief. When you feel this way, allow yourself to express your emotions without suppressing it. Talk about your loss to someone you trust or cry it out. Acknowledge that it is okay to feel upset, angry or any other emotion that sets in – this allows you to be true to your feelings.

2. Honour the deceased

Honouring their memory doesn’t only stop at the funeral service. Find special occasions to honour the deceased helps families to cope with grief. Introduce new traditions to create a new sense of consistency and ring in the next chapter of hope. One way you can do that is by hanging a memory stocking, visiting their final places of resting, or donating to a charity on honour of them.

3. Connect with other people

Typically, during a Christian memorial service, for example, you can rely on support from other mourners to acknowledge and express the pain of your loss. Continue to keep your friends and family close to you while grieving to help motivate you to always stay strong. This is how you can find someone to talk to and express exactly how you feel. Getting someone to listen to you and encourage you can be very therapeutic in such situations. Isolating yourself during grief always makes the emotions and negative feelings associated with grief to worsen. 

4. Practice self-care

This comes at even crucial time to take care of your physical and emotional well-being. In times when you are battling grief and feeling alone, you need to take care of yourself. Find the balance of maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself as you navigate through the different stages of grief and healing.

As the significant date is coming up, do something for yourself, whether it’s a simple act of jotting down your feelings in your journal, taking a long walk or going for meditation class to help you relax and restore peace to your entire self. This can leave you with a better state of mind when the actual date rolls in.

5. Give yourself time to readjust

The process of grieving can feel like a roller-coaster ride, which can also be unpredictable. Trying to become accustomed to a world without your loved one takes time – at least during the first year, you can face ups and downs as you begin to adjust to a new reality. You may find yourself searching for new meaning, reassessing life and questioning old ideas – grief takes more energy than what one might imagine. However, gradually over months, the feelings may reduce lessen in intensity. There will always be reminders but the pain will lessen eventually.