I am in no way an expert on anything, but after grieving for three years, there are a few helpful words of wisdom I want to share. It is important to note that just because something worked for me, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Everyone is different, and everyone grieves differently.
1.) Never Apologize For Your Tears
No matter where you are, or what you may be doing, if you need to cry- you cry. There is no shame or embarrassments in crying. Something terrible happened to you, and you are upset. Crying makes you feel better, and will help release hormones that calm you back down. I’ve cried driving, at work, in the mall, in Hallmark, at Starbucks, at doctors offices, and various other places.
2.) Chew Gum
I’ve found that chewing gum helps keeps you from sobbing uncontrollably. This was helpful at Jen’s funeral and wake, where I needed to talk to people and greet everyone. Plus, it keeps your breath fresh for all the people you will be talking to and hugging.
3.) Wear Industrial Mascara
I cannot stress this enough. You will cry, and do not want raccoon eyes. I only wear Blinc Mascara, and have never had an issue with it. They also have an eyeliner that I would expect to be just as amazing, but I’ve never tried it.
4.) Don’t Wear Your Favorite Clothes to the Wake and Funeral
This may seem odd, but don’t wear your favorite clothes to these events. Why? Because you will never want to wear them again. Every time you put that suit or dress on, you will be reminded of when the last time you wore it. I bought all new tops for Jen’s wake, and couldn’t mentally wear them again. After sitting in my closest for a few years, I finally donated them.
5.) Be Quick to Say “I’m Sorry”
When I’m upset, or feeling extra sad, I can sometimes snap at people, and be mean to those I love (when I truly don’t intend to). It’s not their fault that I am upset, and heck, they may not even know why I am upset. When I think back and say, “Wow, I was very short with my Mom before,” I let her know that I was feeling extra upset, and I didn’t realize that I was being rude. It’s not fair to them.
6.) Take Care of Yourself
Some people slip down the slippery slope of bad (and dangerous) behavior when they are grieving, Drugs and alcohol will only mask the pain, not help it. But beyond the obvious bad stuff, you also need to make sure you eat well, exercise, and do things that make you feel better. It took me far too long to get myself back to the gym, but I finally did, and I really do feel better. I’m also a firm believer that a good pedicure can solve anything.
7.) Avoid Super Fragrant Flowers
Before the wake, you and your family may need to select flowers for the services. My best advice is to pick the least fragrant flowers. Lillies have a very strong and distinct smell. Smell is the strongest sense linked to memory, and from that day forward, whenever you smell that flower, you will be reminded of the wake and funeral. The reason for flowers at a funeral are no longer necessary in modern times, but are still a tradition in many cultures. A good florist will help you pick beautiful flowers that are not too overpowering.
8.) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There is no shame in asking others for help. Everyone around you wants to help, but they may not know how to. By asking someone, “Hey, I really need someone to talk to. Want to meet me for lunch?” will not only help you, but give your friends direction on what you need. You may need someone who you can talk on the phone to. Or, you may need someone who can go out to dinner with you. People will do anything they can to help you; you just need to ask.