When you lose someone or even something you love, it can be difficult to find meaning or purpose for why the loss occurred. More people have struggled with such things over the last year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, people who have died who were in great health or too young to be considered high-risk. Those kinds of unexpected deaths can be even more difficult to accept and work through, but it’s not just COVID, of course.
Loss happens every day, and most of the time, it isn’t expected. Most people have at least heard of the stages of grief, all the way from denial to acceptance. But have you ever thought about the importance of finding meaning during times of grief?
Before you scoff at the idea or assume it’s impossible, let’s talk about why finding meaning is important and how you can do it after losing someone you care about.
The Importance of Discovering Meaning
Even if you’ve gone through the stages of grief and have accepted someone’s passing, it doesn’t mean you’re “over it.” That’s a common misconception and can actually do more harm than good. Accepting a loss doesn’t mean you have to forget about that person. In fact, you could still be struggling with hints of confusion or even anger about their death.
That’s why finding meaning is so important. But finding meaning looks different for everyone, and it can be painful at times as you try to consider what would be purposeful and impactful now that directly relates to the person you lost.
How to Find Meaning
If you really want to find meaning during times of grief, shift your focus to the person you lost. Meaningful practices are about doing things that your loved one would’ve been passionate about. Or something they would have wanted to be passed on in their absence.
For example, if someone you care about is struggling with their mental health, you might consider donating in their name to a mental health organization or suicide prevention nonprofit. Donations or volunteer work are both great ways to find meaning during times of grief. First, they give you something to work toward. If you make a donation, you can either gather money from others or provide it yourself.
But instead of just writing and mailing a check to an organization, go for a visit. Talk about your loved one and why you’re making the donation in their name. Learn more about the organization. In doing so, you’ll feel pride in what you’re doing, and you’ll know the person you lost would love every second of it.
Changing Your Own Life
Another way to find meaning during grief is to take a look at your own life. This could be especially effective if you lose a loved one suddenly. Are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you living your life to the fullest? What if tomorrow was your last day?
Those questions might seem cliche at the moment. But they can help you realize who you really are and where you should be. The loss of someone you love can make you realize how short and precious life really is.
Dedicating a change in your life to that person is one of the best things you can do and an incredible way to find meaning. That might mean changing careers, giving up a bad habit, or mending broken bridges with friends or family.
If you’re struggling with grief or even having a hard time finding meaning, you’re not alone. Feel free to contact us to learn more about getting through grief and moving forward by finding meaning.