General How To

How to learn from loss

Avatar photo
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

There’s no doubt that people can learn from loss and here are just a few ways that you can too.

Losing someone close to you can leave you overcome with a whole host of emotions. You’ll experience everything from anger and regret to happiness and appreciation. We all know we can’t turn back the hands of time, but what about if we ever have to deal with anything similar in the future? What would we change next time round?

Make the most of everything

It’s that age-old cliché, ‘live every day like it’s your last’. But there’s a reason why we hear it so often – because it’s true. Spend time with, and appreciate, your loved ones, tell them that you love them every day and always do whatever makes you happy. Never take your life or any of the people in it for granted.

You can never take too many photos

Life is all about making memories. It’s all well and good having things in our mind we remember, but it helps to have something physical to look back on too. When you rely on your mind, there’s that worry that you’ll eventually forget things and memories will drift away. But capture photos of happy memories and have a permanent reminder of times gone by.

Talk about the taboo

If there’s one thing we’re all really bad at, it’s talking about death. If there’s someone in your family who’s ill and coming to terms with the fact that they may die soon, don’t brush over the subject and avoid talking about it. It’s a scary time for them, so let them be open and talk about their feelings. It’s also good to know if they have any particular requests beyond their life, such as plans for their funeral. And do you know which members of your family are happy to donate their organs after their death? Death happens to all of us. Let’s not try and cover that up.

Don’t bottle things up

Us Brits are known for our stiff upper lip, often to our own detriment. We’re afraid of letting our emotions show and don’t want people to see when we’re feeling vulnerable or weak. This only makes things harder; not just in the short term but in the long term too, taking its toll on both our physical and mental health. Grief can hit people hard and one of the best ways to deal with it is to be open and talk to people, whether they’re a friend, family member or a professional.

You’re stronger than you think

Crying, sadness, talking to people and asking for help: none of these are signs of weakness. We deal with a lot when someone we love passes away. From the initial shock and denial, to the funeral, the sorting of their things and the part where everyday life resumes and we are expected to just carry on as normal. You’ll go through the hardest time of your life, fairly certain that you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But there always is, and there always will be: you’re tougher than you give yourself credit for.

Death is horrible. But it’s also inevitable. So, if we can learn even just one thing from our experiences, we might be able to make the healing process just that little bit easier in the future.