Advice for Coping with Unexpected Tragedy

Emily Williams

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Have you experienced grief recently? Or maybe you have a fear of grief and wonder how you’d handle it should you be met with it in the future?

I recently sat down with my lovely team member Evelyn for an extremely important conversation about grief — a topic that I don’t think people spend enough time talking about. In fact, I think many people choose not to talk about it out of fear, overwhelm, or simply because they don’t know what to say.

Today, I want to share some of the biggest takeaways from my conversation with Evelyn regarding coping with loss, grief, and unexpected hardship. 

The truth is, we’ve all either experienced it before or will in the future. It’s an inevitable part of life. 

Yes, it may be a hard or awkward conversation for some. 

But that’s exactly why we need to have it. 

That’s also why I admire Evelyn for her willingness to share her story. I am in awe of her strength as she pushes forward in the wake of a significant loss. Moments like this can either cause people to shut down or inspire them to shine. 

Despite her world being turned upside down after losing her father to COVID-19 this past August, Evelyn chooses to shine. 

By sharing her story, she hopes to inspire others to do the same when faced with unexpected hardship in their lives. 

With that said, here are some of the most important takeaways from our recent chat…

Grief comes in waves. Make space for it when it comes. 

It might be a memory, a song, a place, or something someone says. Before you know it, grief comes crashing over you. In these moments, it’s easy to feel like you can’t come up for air. It only gets worse when you try to fight it. 

Instead, make space for it. Be tender with yourself, identifying what it is that you need to feel in that moment. Be open, honest, and unapologetic with yourself and others. In these moments, it’s okay to put yourself first. It’s important to practice self-care and self-love so you can move through the moment in the way you need to. 

Remember, nothing is permanent, including feelings. 

It’s okay not to be okay and yet still move forward. Continue to pursue those things that are important to you and that light you up. In fact, what better time to surround yourself with things that bring you joy?

Instead of shutting down or staying in a dark place, know that you can both acknowledge your emotions and put your energy into something positive. 

Acknowledge your emotions. 

It’s easy to hold your emotions hostage. Whether it’s out of embarrassment, fear of judgment, not wanting to burden others– whatever it may be–  let it go. Grant yourself permission to acknowledge how you feel and what you’re experiencing. Doing so will actually help you release that emotion bit by bit. 

It won’t happen overnight, but the more action you take in the positive direction, the more clarity you will experience. 

Do things that bring you pleasure and comfort. 

It can feel weird catching yourself having a laugh or enjoying a good time. You might make yourself wrong for it, reminding yourself of the tragedy you’re experiencing. Let go of the guilt. 

Instead, remind yourself that you have the power to decide the experience you want to have. It’s possible to honor your grief while still moving forward with the life you want to live. 

Maybe you don’t need this conversation today, and that’s okay. Save this for you whenever it is that you do. 

At the very least, let this be a reminder that we are not promised any time in this life. So, remember to be kind and caring to yourself and others. Follow your heart, chase your dreams, and live your life the best way you know how to. 

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