At the end of your family member’s life, grief is likely to come to the forefront of what you’re feeling. It’s important to learn how to deal with grief so that you’re not trapped by it.
Grief Is Only One Emotion
Something that is easy to forget is that you don’t experience one emotion at a time or even exclusively. You may be grieving, but you can also still laugh. You can still experience other emotions, too. You don’t feel only grief and it’s okay to express other emotions while you’re still sad.
It Takes Time to Adjust to Your New Normal
Whether you’ve been a caregiver for decades or you’ve been helping for only a short period of time, you’re going to need to adjust. It takes time to come to terms with the fact that your daily routine is now different and that your life is different due to your loss. Give yourself that time.
Losing Your Family Member May Also Affect Your Identity
You also need to remember that you’re not just a caregiver. You may have been a caregiver for a long time, but that’s not entirely who you are. If you see yourself primarily as a caregiver, no longer having that identity can be difficult to wrap your mind around. This is part of your new normal to which you’ll need to adjust.
You Won’t Always Know What You Need
When you’re grieving, you don’t always know what you need. You might not realize that you haven’t slept or eaten. When someone asks you how they can help you or what you need, you genuinely may not have any idea how to answer. You’re in a state of flux and covering basic self-care is essential until you’re more present again.
You Don’t Have to Go Through This Alone
Even if you have other family members, you might still feel a bit alone in your grieving process. You don’t have to be, though. End-of-life care providers can help you to put together a plan for managing grief even before your family member passes away. This can help your transition to be as easy as possible given the circumstances.
Grieving is difficult no matter what your relationship is to your family member. But when you’re that person’s caregiver, the loss can affect you in ways you didn’t expect. It’s a good idea to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, whether that’s a therapist or a friend you trust.