We all go through periods of grief during our lives. While it’s most common after a death of a loved one, it can occur for a number of different reasons. Any type of trauma or loss can result in a period of grieving. Grief normal, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Grief can feel all-consuming, and it can be very difficult to go about your daily activities when it’s still fresh. Having a mentor during a time of grief can make a big difference in how you process your grief and begin living your “new normal.”
Here’s why it’s important to have a mentor during a time of grief.
Having someone you can reach out to when your grieving can help you feel less alone. Many people struggle with feeling lonely or isolated during periods of grief, especially when they have lost a spouse or child. You can know in theory that you’re not alone, but unless you have a mentor and/or support group to help you feel less lonely, you’re likely to feel alone in your grief.
Knowing that someone cares about you and your grief can sometimes be enough to help you avoid loneliness or feelings of depression and anxiety. When you have someone to talk to, you don’t have to be the sole person responsible for your grief.
When you’re grieving, it’s very important to avoid bottling up your emotions. Lots of people try to ignore their pain or avoid talking about it with others. While that might work in the short term, it can ultimately lead to problems and affect well-being.
Having opportunities to talk about your grief, cry, and express your emotions is critical. A mentor can provide you with safe opportunities for this so that you can work through your feelings without getting self-conscious. A non-judgmental person who will listen and talk with you is a gift when you’re grieving.
Although it’s a good idea to consider professional mental health support during a time of grieving, you might also need more chances to talk about your loss or trauma, in an informal setting. Grief mentors can help you by letting you vent, cry, or process your emotions in any way you need to.
A mentor should be able to offer you more than sympathy — they should be able to offer you empathy and understanding. People who are open to mentoring others during a time of grief are exceptionally compassionate and can help you by giving you the knowledge that someone understands your pain.
As a society, we have dealt with traumatic grief after events such as climate disasters, school shootings, and more. Having a mentor empathize while you’re actively grieving can make it easier to talk through your emotions. Someone who understands your feelings can help you process them more effectively.
When you’re grieving, the world doesn’t stop. Although it can feel like the earth has stopped turning, there are still tasks that need to be completed, whether they’re related to the source of your grief or not. You might need to make funeral arrangements, care for your children or pets, and continue paying your bills.
A mentor can help you manage the practical matters in your life as you move through the grief process. They might help you prioritize your tasks so you’re focusing on the right things, and they might even help you make arrangements if necessary. For instance, they can help set you up with a housecleaning service or book an appointment with a grief counsellor, so that important things don’t fall through the cracks while you are in a period of grief.
Having someone “on call” can make a big difference when you’re going through a period of grief. It can be hard to predict when feelings of grief will strike, especially after some time has passed. A mentor will provide you with support when you need it the most. This support is reassuring and stabilizing, especially if your grief has been unpredictable.
Processing grief isn’t about “getting over it.” It’s about figuring out how to live in a world that has been permanently altered. Your life won’t be the same after a period of significant grief, but you can still live a good life after a loss or another traumatic event. Having a mentor and others to help you heal and process can help you move forward into the next phase of your life.