Grief is a tangled mess that’s complicated enough on its own. Then you add the trauma of seeing a loved one die and it’s like salt added to an open cut. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though.
You’re Not Alone
I still deal with traumatic memories and feelings occasionally. Less now than before. There are ways I navigate through it.
- Flashbacks: They pop up, and BAM, reliving it. After awhile, you may notice the triggers, but not always. When they hit, focus on the one thing you have control over, your breathing. Slow 4-counts.
- Overwhelming Emotions Triggered By Certain Places: Do you have to go there? If you do, it’s okay to leave, someone has to watch your back and sometimes it’s only you. If you go with a friend, talk it out before, or take separate cars if you have to leave.
- Guilt: Get alone with a notebook, play the event through your mind and write a timeline. Be as detailed and accurate as possible. After the timeline is complete, ask what went well. Nowhere in the process do you focus on what went wrong or blame anyone or yourself. I’ve used it to great effect for myself after reading Facing Violence by Rory Miller to help myself. My therapist at the time even approved.
Different People, Different Speeds
Don’t measure your healing against others. We move at a different pace than others. My wife has coped better than I have. She can return to the scene of the accident and stay all day. It’s a miracle if I manage four hours, unmedicated.
I almost did though, three hours, without anxiety medicine. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The dark days will become just dark moments, appearing less often. Don’t give up.
Find a GriefShare group near you at http://www.griefshare.org/findagroup