HIV POSITIVE  Caretakers
Coping With A Loss

How to Help Yourself Cope

Here are some things that have proven helpful for those who have survived the loss of a loved one. Perhaps they will help you, too.

  • Take time to grieve. There's no way to rush recovering from a loss, nor can you push away your feelings forever.

  • Find people to talk to, who can understand, and let them be there for you. Allow yourself to ask others for what you need. Use support groups or professional counseling services.

  • Write a letter or make a tape to express unspoken feelings and to say good-bye.

  • Be kind to yourself; allow yourself feelings and concern, without being judgmental. Forgive yourself. It's natural to feel "crazy" at times.

  • Don't expect too much of yourself too soon.

  • Avoid making major decisions and changes in your life. Some consistency, routine, and predictability are helpful when you feel in chaos.

  • Get help for practical needs -- paying bills, home repairs etc., or ask someone to assist you in getting help.

  • Try to take care of each day, each task, each problem as it comes -- live day by day -- and feel good about just getting through each day. Set small goals.

  • Collect memories of the person who died. Talk to someone about your memories. Commemorate the person on important dates and anniversaries in a special way.

  • Grieve for the lost dreams, hopes, and expectations. They are just as real for you as the physical person you lost.

  • Take time off from grieving, when you're ready, to do something enjoyable or celebrate someone else's happiness. Continue doing things you enjoy.

  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Get enough sleep, nutrition, support; draw solace and strength from faith, art, music, and the love and support of others. Exercise can help release tension, vent anger and allow feelings to emerge in a constructive way.

  • Trust that the pain will decrease and life will be better.

  • Explore and participate in religion, faith, and spirituality as a resource for hope and support.

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