Here at Good Mourning, we call the ‘waves of grief’ grief bombs – because a wave feels way too gentle to explain the feeling of grief (and the ten thousand other emotions) that can hit you at any given time without warning. Maybe its unexpectedly triggered by something, or maybe you think of your person or situation and WHAM – it’s like a grief explosion coming out of nowhere, catching you off guard and making you a hot, weeping mess. So yeah, bombs feel much more accurate.
Sal had one the other night, and even though it’s been four years, the feeling that came over her felt like she was right back at the start of the grief process.
*Sal post grief bomb…excuse the headgear
It’s something we talk about extensively in our book, Good Mourning: Honest Conversations About Grief and Loss, because it’s such an important topic to understand. And it can feel really confusing when you’re not sure what’s going on. And if you’re loss is recent, it might feel like they are happing all the time (which is normal, trust us).
So, what actually helps when you’re caught off guard and making a dash for it because the grief feels all-consuming? We threw it out to our podcast listeners – aka real-time grievers – to ask for their advice. Here’s what some of them said:
💣 “Honour and accept it. If you’re in a public place and can go somewhere discreet, do that.”
💣 “When I’m overcome with grief, I find journalling to be a helpful way to not only process my emotions but also ground myself.”
💣 “Have someone you can call or go to. When it gets awful, having someone else is the only thing that helps. Grief can be far too heavy to carry on your own, and sometimes you need someone to lift you.”
💣 “As hard as the grief bombs can be, don’t fight them – you need to make time to feel it as soon as possible. Don’t bury your emotions.”
💣 “After my last grief bomb, I realised that I had to let myself feel, and it’s spurred me to see a therapist, which has also helped.”
💣 “For me, one of the best coping tools came from CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and is to ground yourself in the moment with breathing and mindfulness. It’s been beneficial to learn that skill to take a pause, stand back, and be aware that I’m not in ‘that place’ or “that reality’, but in the here and now. It takes practice, but being mindful of the present moment and the breath has worked wonders.”
For more tips on coping with grief bombs, listen to our past episode on the topic.