By Amy K. Andrews
My Grandma Rose always said that when life hands you lemons, turn around and chuck them back at life. She has accumulated a lot of wisdom in her 90 years, and it turns out that her response is astute and true; anger is one of the stages of grief we can count on experiencing when being dealt a sour hand. Whether you are expecting bad news or it shocks you with a wave of force, it is imperative to have some tools to help you cope, and deal with the anger and sadness you may experience. Here are a few suggestions.
Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
Loss of a loved one, a job, a part of your youth, anything beyond losing a nail, can result in shock. This is a true side effect of loss, and of loving deeply or living passionately. Instead of trying to get over it and move on before you are ready, take time to allow yourself to grieve. And, take as much time as you need. Grief, when rushed, often results in a seeping of sadness into the months and years following a loss. This can have a detrimental effect on further relationships or on the way you live your life. Take your time; grieving is an essential part of healing.
Channel Your Grief
Pick a project to help you heal. Although it may be hard to get out of bed in the morning, a project can often be therapeutic. Write a love letter to the person you lost, or make something in their honor. Anything from a favorite recipe to a collage with pictures and mementos can provide much needed catharsis. In receiving a diagnosis that can effect days, months, or years of your life, or the life of a loved one, there can be an associated feeling of helplessness that a project abates.
After a time, one way to keep perspective is to be with others in need. Helping someone else deal with a loss or a difficult diagnosis can help you, too. Being with others in need and lending a listening ear or a helpful hand, making them a meal or sending them a card, are all ways to help others. This can remind both you and the other person that you are not alone.
Harness Your Anger
Just like Grandma Rose said, harnessing the power of lemons that life tosses your way can be a powerful thing. Often, people find great satisfaction by using their grief as a catalyst to propel change. Historically speaking, the greatest changes come about during the times of the greatest duress. While some people may prefer to channel their grief into a personal project, others may find that tackling the subject at large is more helpful. Thinking grand, use your personal experience to start a support group, or work with an associated organization advocating for change, research, new and improved ways to deal with and heal from the offending loss.
Above all else, remember that grief is a serious thing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out. Find someone to talk to. You are not alone in life, nor should you be in your grief.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.