Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things that everyone has to go through.
On Feb. 5, I lost my grandmother after a month and a half long battle with complications resulting from a fall. It was a rough time in my life after her passing. I had to still go to classes and fulfill my extracurricular commitments as though everything was okay. Being a freshman at the time and just starting my second semester on campus only made the anxiety and sadness I felt all the more worse. I would be lying if I said that I do not still think about her frequently, and struggle with that loss to this day.
Grief is, after all, a natural process which you go through after a personal tragedy, but it is not eternal; it does eventually improve. Through my struggle with grief, I have learned some valuable lessons on coping with situations such as these. I want to share with you all, specifically to anyone experiencing such a loss these days, ways to be able to overcome this monumental challenge while away from home.
Channel negative energy into something positive
One of the ways I found to cope is to take that negative energy and channel it into something positive instead. Sitting around your dorm or apartment will only make you more miserable, which gives your brain time to dwell on what has happened. Rather than do that, I am currently working on a project for a class of mine in honor of my grandmother and grandfather. I am studying my grandfather’s unit from WW2 for my historiography and research methods class, using the information about his service my grandmother gave me before her passing, alongside scholarly research and looking at period documents.
I have turned my feelings of sadness rather to feelings of determination to create something in their memory, knowing that they would appreciate it.
I’m not saying you have to undertake some massive project either, but just remember the positive times you had with them, and change your own internal dialogue from one of sadness to one of remembrance and nostalgia.
Lean on your support system
Another key factor is to utilize your support networks, and use the resources that you have. Do not be afraid to vent to people you are close to, particularly your parents. At the time I was afraid to talk to my mom about how I was feeling, since she was going through much of the same given that she just lost her own mother. But in all truthfulness, it is easier to go through it together than trying to struggle by yourself.
I also was able to use my amazing network of friends to aid me, just having someone to listen to me was a great help. Even if the only thing they can offer is their condolences, it still means the world to a person going through this.
Use available resources
Don’t be nervous to use your on campus resources. The Counseling Center in the College Park Office Building is a fine resource where you can talk to professionals about what you are feeling in such a hard time.
While losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, it is not impossible to get through. You have the ability to pick yourself up, and be strong in your own way along with help from outside. One of the most important things to remember is that the person you lost would not want you to be sad, but to carry on and do great things.