Coping with the loss of a loved one or treasured thing may be the hardest thing to handle in life. If you have lost a spouse, parent, job, or home, you probably feel that you have lost your identity and have to start over completely. If you are coping with the loss of a child, you may likely feel that you have lost your mind and will never be able to breathe normally again.

You may believe this or not, there are things YOU can do to help ease the pain a little. Nothing will eradicate it. Don't let anyone tell you that you “will get over it” or that you “should be getting over the loss by now.” It is okay to be angry when someone says that to you. Guess what? It is perfectly okay to tell that person exactly how you feel! If they really love you, they will understand.

Can't sleep? Maybe the quiet space from bedtime to dawn is agonizing and loud in your mind. This can create a state of sleep deprivation that makes it even harder to cope with this loss. Maybe you are sleeping round the clock because the slight comfort of locking away the “real world” by closing your mind to it is the only place you feel you can handle. Talk to your doctor about these experiences and your feelings. It will be good for you. Trust your doctor's advice about any medication they may temporarily prescribe. If you have a pastor or rabbi or counselor, talk with them as well.

You may have trouble just getting out of your bed. Going to the store or to work may be impossible for a while. That is normal. Be patient with yourself. That feeling of never again being able to function will pass in time.

It may be difficult for you when others talk about your loss. Or you may want to talk about it all of the time and feel hurt when others seem uncomfortable when you do. No matter how it looks, the way you feel and your reactions are completely normal.

There are grief groups available in all sorts of places. Some groups are for specific losses. Go and try it. They may even offer individual grief counseling which could really be beneficial to you right now in your overwhelming sense of loss. You may think you won't be able to tolerate doing anything like that, but it really will help.

You are probably wondering “what makes this writer believe that he can understand what I’m feeling or going through?” Not long ago, I had a terrible loss of a close friend. I have endured the loss of my spouse. I have wept over losing a job that I loved. I had to do these things I am suggesting to you. No, I am not “over it” in any of these cases. But, I am still breathing, and grief support did help accept the pain of these losses. It had to so that my life’s journey quit being so glum. Yes, there were times I couldn't talk and just cried. But I knew those who listened, understood and cared. It helped me feel not quite so alone. It helped me to cope – to accept my grief so I could also enjoy the goodness in my tomorrows.

John T. Catrett, III serves as a Chaplain with ONHL Hospice. ONHL Hospice currently provides services to the majority of Northeastern Oklahoma but is available to accept patients statewide. Learn more at http://onhlhospice.com.