How To Overcome Grief From Death When It Keeps You Awake

how to overcome grief from death

How to overcome grief from death can seem inconceivable, especially it relates to a loved one who you are not expecting to pass on. This can hinder our sleep not only immediately, but for years to come.

Healing after grief, leading to better sleep, can only happen when the closure has taken place. Closure can take place a person has truly let go, or you can implement the silver threads method (a method I use with many of my clients), which I will go into detail later on.

Remember Grief From Death Comes In Many Ways Which Includes

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Pets Dying
  • Financial Loss
  • Loss of Innocence

You can use how to overcome grief from death method for any type of loss you have experienced, but today we are dealing with grief of the death of a lost loved one.

Losing a loved one causes so much heartache; negative thoughts keep swirling around, just making the impact that much harder.

How Grief Impacted My Sleep Routine

I remember when my father passed away. I had never experienced death before him. It was one of the toughest times. Sleep was something that I craved many a night, but it was not as forthcoming.

There are times after he passed away, I would walk around mindlessly at midnight, wondering where I could go to see him. As you know, there is no place to meet once a person is gone.

My dad was in his 80s; he was ready to go; dealing with his death wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. It was my nephew’s death at 18, which made it hard to deal with.

He was murdered as he was about to graduate. That was a death that I could not reconcile myself with. It made no sense to me as to why he had to die. At night I would find myself fighting numbing thoughts of knowing I would never see his smiling face again.

The stress of these thoughts led to many nights of giving myself into crying bouts. He was the oldest grandchild, taken way too early.

Grief Also Affected My Childrenchild experiencing grief

I have two older children who are his would-be age now. It was tough to comfort them as they were very close to their cousin. The anxiety my children were experiencing at the time was unimaginable.

Many times I would find my daughter walking around aimlessly, wondering where she could find her cousin. Of course, he was never going to be found again. Although she knew it was permanent, her heart couldn’t grasp this was real.

Although I had the tool on how to overcome grief from death ready, both of my children had to be prepared to go through it. Meaning they had to be ready to let go of their cousin. I spent many nights staying up with them to help them try to get some sleep. We tried many sleep remedies.

Before my children overcame grief, they experienced the five stages of grief that we will all experience before any resolution is achievable.

Most people will experience the five stages within a year. Unfortunately, there are others who will never get through grief.

The Five Stages Of Grief

If you are one of those individuals who is experiencing grief, you may discover at which stage you are at right now. 

But to point out, moving through stages is not linear.

There’s going to be a time where we may move back a few stages. The following week the stage may change to moving up a few steps. 

  Denial

Denial is usually the first stage of the five stages of grief. This stage helps a person to survive the pain that they are going to experience. This is when a person would feel overwhelmed as well their world would become meaningless to them.

I remember experiencing this during my nephew’s death. It was a time when I thought time would stop, but the world kept moving forward.

The pain of loss in my heart was so high I couldn’t comprehend why others were living as though nothing had happened. At times it felt so heavy that the weight of it was massively overwhelming.

The state of being in shock as well denial gives no meaning to life. There are many times when a person will question themselves about how they can go on. Most times, we are just trying to get through each day an hour at a time.

By being in denial while dealing with grief, it helps us to process the loss we have just experienced. Being in the stage of denial, it buffers us from the immediate shock of loss by numbing our emotions.

As humans, we tend to block out words as well as hide facts that we know are going to hurt us. For most people, this phase is a transient response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

  Anger

At this stage, denial has now begun to wear off, this is when reality starts to set in that loss has taken place. This is when the pain begins to emerge in its full awareness.

During the anger stage, no one is ready to accept what has happened. This emotion is so intense; its aim can be anything. Be it inanimate objects, family, friends, or even strangers.

The one who has died will also become the subject of anger.

Anger is a necessary stage when healing has to take place. We need to be able to feel our anger to express it. Like I said before, fury has no limits; its direction will be everything and everyone.

Underneath the anger is unbearable pain; during this phase, it’s very natural to feel abandoned by the one who has moved on. Anger is a bridge that is a connection from us to the person who has left us behind.

This emotion is entirely natural. Many times life seems cruel and unfair, especially when you know someone has died before their time is up.

The questions we are left behind with is: why didn’t they take better care of themselves? Couldn’t they have asked for help? Why take such a chance?

Those left grieving are also now dealing with whys.

We also know we will never get the answer for this, yet it won’t make the anger any less.

Many times when I grieved for my nephew, I was angry. Most of my anger was directed at him as well as the people who had committed the crime of murdering him.

Even though I no longer hold the grief, I will always wonder why he went out that day!

  Bargaining

This is where we begin to react to our feelings of helplessness as well experience vulnerability due to the situation not being within our control. By negotiation, we try to take back control.

This is where the if only comes in, such as:

  • If only we had been there to stop him from going out
  • If only the illness had been diagnosed earlier
  • If only the doctor had read the charts right
  • If only I could go back and change time

Most of our bargaining will happen in secret. It is usually done with God or through a higher power where belief is held. This is done to protect ourselves from the painful reality of what has or is taking place.

During the bargaining process, guilt is a common factor. This is when we start to think if only I could’ve done something to prevent this from happening.

This is usually the time when we start wishing that life would go back to what it once was.

  Depression

During the depression stage, we start to move back into the present moment. Because grief has entered into our lives on an intense level, the feeling of emptiness begins to take place.

This is the time when it feels like this pain is never going to end. At this time, we tend to start living less, being obsessed with critical thoughts that culminate in more profound sorrow. It is an appropriate response to grief.

With mourning comes two types of depression. One depression occurs at the thought of the cost associated with the funeral, as well as having to pick out all things which are required — something we may never have imagined ourselves doing.

The other depression is more subtle, which makes it more private to the person experiencing this emotion. This type of depression is related to bidding our loved ones goodbye forever.

In the depression stage, a person can be in a mental fog, have a lack of response as well as experience an intense sadness.

  Acceptance

When a person goes through acceptance, it does not mean that it’s okay what has happened. Most of us will never be okay with the grief we experience.

This stage is more about accepting the reality that our loved one has passed on. During this stage, we start to recognize that our loved one is physically gone from this world. We begin to realize that it is a permanent reality that cannot be changed.

This is when we start to learn to live with it. Many people try to return to living a normal life as they lived before the tragedy took place. But slowly, most of us realize things are changed forever for us; many of us will re-adjust accordingly.

Many who cope with death, deal with it on a deeply personal level. At this time, no one will be able to help you or go through it.

Don’t Stay Stuck In Grief Loss Stages

What you need to know is people will go back and forth through different stages. Unfortunately, some people get stuck at a stage and cannot move past it. This is where the silver threads method can help you.

When my children lost their cousin at a very young age, I knew it was going to be difficult for them to move forward. 

Mind you my first death experience took place when my father died, I was in my mid-30s. Now here were two 16 and 17-year-old teenagers having to deal with stress and grief by the death of their cousin. Such a young age to comprehend the realism of being separated from someone they grew up with.

Of course, I wanted my children to go through the stages of grief on their own. But sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. One of my children got stuck in the anger stage. She was so angry at her cousin for leaving the way he did.

I let her stay like this for a month or two, thinking that she would be able to move past it on her own. After a month, we both talked and decided to do the silver threads method.

During the process of the silver threads, she was able to experience every stage within 45 minutes. By the time we were done, I had a daughter who had accepted her cousin’s death as well; she had reconciled herself with her grief.

How To Overcome Grief From Death

  Implementing The Silver Threads Method

Now we will go through the process of overcoming grief loss by going through the silver threads method. Make sure to read the whole process before you begin.

Before you begin, write down all your feelings, even if they feel unreal or not justified. It’s essential for you to get in tune with your feeling before you being the process.

What you will need to do now is find a place where you feel comfortable and safe.

Now that you have found this place, you can either lie down or sit, it’s all up to you.

Take in a deep breath and release. Do this three times on the third time when you exhale close your eyes.

After you close your eyes imagine a place in your mind where two chairs are facing across from each other.

Find yourself sitting in one of those chairs. Just remember to leave all unjustified thinking behind.

Now in the other chair, invite your loved one in to take a seat. Imagine them coming through a door.

At all times, remember your loved one is not allowed to talk unless you want them to; they cannot move or look at you in any funny way. Remember, you’re in control here, so you will make this happen the way you want it to happen.

What you need to do now is vent your feelings to them. They need to hear everything that you need to say, all they’re going to do is listen.

You may have them respond if you want, listen for the response which comes in. Don’t ignore that response, because you will be responding to that.

  Now Let Them Go For Your Sanity

Once all the talking is done, let the person know that you are ready to let them go.

You may even tell them you forgive for leaving as well if the situation seems right to let them know you love them.

Now I want you to imagine, feel, or visualize that the silver threads are connecting from you to them.

Here is where you’re going to let them go permanently. Use your imagination to cut the threads from yourself and the person you are letting go. After you have cut the threads, you can imagine the threads vanishing completely.

Let your loved one leave through the same door they came in.

Count to three and slowly open your eyes. Do a quick mental check to see how you feel. Drink a glass of water as well eat some protein as you have used a lot of energy to clear things up. Rest for a good 10 minutes before going on with the rest of your day.

There that’s all there is to it.  I have used the silver threads method with my clients many times. Each time it has been very successful.

How to overcome grief after death takes time. But if you feel that it is taking longer than usual for it to happen, don’t be afraid to try the silver threads method. Getting back to sleep after grief can be exhausting, but once you let the grief go, sleep will arrive easily.

Sidenote: You can also use this method if you are experiencing heartbreak or divorce.

Let me know in the comments below what you think about this method.

jagi

Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name. One of my main issues is sleeping, so I'm always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I'm more than happy to share them with you. My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed. The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.

View all posts by jagi →

18 thoughts on “How To Overcome Grief From Death When It Keeps You Awake

  1. Thank you for this great article. Grief from death is something a lot of people experience. With my understanding of grief, it involves more acceptance and patience with the feelings. To me the word “overcome” sounds like you’re making grief an enemy, which it’s not. Maybe I’m mis-interpreting how you’re using the word and if so, I apologize. Hopefully you mean it in a synonymous way with “going through the grieving process”. 

    I haven’t really had anyone close to me die, but I’ve had other kinds of grief. I have my own way of making space for the grief in my life, but I think everyone has to find their own way with that. Thanks for trying to help people with it, since not everyone knows what to do about grief. 

    1. Grief is okay so long as we move along, for some, it does become an enemy that needs to be overcome or they stay stuck. But overcoming grief can also mean moving past the situation without getting lost in the process. Grief is like a little hill which has to climbed and then back down again to even ourselves out or we end risking more than what we have to offer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

  2. I’d immediately underline the fact that people will go back & forth through different stages.
    Knowing that alone can give the necessary awareness of what’s going on – To fight it alone or with someone.

    Neither one is healthier option than the other. It’s an inevitable process.

    Speaking from experience, I’m more of the lone samurai type. Proud, introverted.
    Men don’t cry they say, eh? & then we’re amused to look at statistics why women life span is usually longer. Not the only reason of course, but a big one in the list. Too much denial, not good.

    I remember, as a kid, I was devastated when my guinea pig died due to disease. Vet screwed up, I screwed up. Was the end of the world for me. Yup, I’m a male who loves animals, flowers & nature in general.
    Healing process that followed was quite similar that you are pointing out here – denial, anger, bargain, depression.. plus the question that plagues everyone: ‘what if I’ve could’ve done something differently?’
    However, odd to say it but it’s a brutal training session of a sort that might prepare us for different types of challenges in life.

    For me, it prepared me well.

    Couple of years ago my father & elder sister both died within 2 weeks. My father drank himself to death which was his unfortunate choice. My sister on contrary shocked all of the relatives in quite unforgettable way.
    Successful young business woman, kind person, with amazing husband, beautiful kids, nice home, wealthy, quite literally everything in the bag.. & then, it took 1 year only, she died – ALS disease. A rare disease, & an aggressive version of it.
    All of the people around her saw how this person literally withered away before their eyes. Imagine the scale of helplessness emotion that was being induced in people who cared about her.

    Like you said, this is the part where person accepts what has happened but it does not mean it’s okay what has happened.

    1. Amazing you have gone through so much, yet show such clarity of accepting realities of the different situations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Josephine says:

    A website about sleep.  Great idea’t. I found your article about grief very interesting.  I lost my father when he was 51 and I was 17.  It was the biggest loss of my life and I had a hard time for a long time.  I still get emotional when I talk about him.  It left me a little bitter.  For a long time felt that if I had to go through anyone can.  I like how you explain the stages of grief .  I don’t know if the silver thread method would have worked for me but it sounds good.  Very nice job.

    1. Emotions can take a while to clear, but we can still let go to have peace of mind. This is method which is used for people who are stuck. It works for some, others I implement other methods. 

  4. Rodarrick says:

    Well, this seems so much like an unconventional approach to healing from the grieve of losing someone very dear to us but while rethinkng it over again, it makes  a perfect sense to be able to use our imagination to let the pains go. I’m really sorry to hear about the people you have lost. I have also lost my mom but then, I realised that there is more to life than just grieving tough it took a whole lot while. wish I kne about this technique beforehand. Great one.

    1. In the counseling world, it’s an approach used quite often to help people move past from hurtful situations. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. 

  5. This is a fantastic article on how to come to terms with death. I wish I had found this a few years ago when my Nan died. It took me far longer than I thought it would to get over her passing and I was stuck in denial for quite a while.

    This is a really nice way to finally let go of your loved one and I will use this method if I have to in the future. Obviously, I would rather not have to use it but it is inevitable in the end.

    Thank you for a wonderful article.                                                                                                                                           Tony

    1. I wish no one has to use any type of grief method, but I’ve put out there just in case. 

  6. Carol5162 says:

    It is really hard to understand and accept the heavy loses in life. We might experience other loses other than death and feel the heaviness so deep and hurtful. The stages of grief you have mentioned are very helpful in helping us realize where we are at. I am glad that there is the acceptance stage that finally lets us move on. It might be hard but I believe going through the stages will help us let go for our piece of mind. Thank you for the great insights on the steps to take.

    1. I agree we all do experience losses as well we grieve our own way. Thanks for stopping by. 

  7. bijan amid says:

    It is a great article with great guidelines- It gives those who have lost someone to recover from their loss and to be able to get rid of anxiety and depression.

    I have not tried the suggestions, yet and I do not know how effective they are but I do know that by therapy it is possible to bring a person to recall the loss in detail in order to be able to handle it.

    1. Hopefully, this is method you never have to use. Recall can definitely help. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Cathy Allen says:

    This is a very spot-on article. I’m glad you wrote it. My mother was one of the more aloof and cold-hearted people I’ve ever known. She was so distant that when she was dying in the hospital, she made sure that no next of kin was listed. I was next of kin and I didn’t even find out she was dead until two years later. Shock and denial, a few minutes of tears, then a sort of acceptance where you look around your house after a hurricane. I hope your silver threads method blesses many souls. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for sharing. 

  9. riverdogg says:

    Your article hit home with me. I have struggled for 17 years to deal with the death of a friend from high school. In 2012 he was stabbed 64 times with a Bowie knife by our mutual friend who unknown to us was in the middle of a schizophrenic episode. It’s still surreal all these years later. I still feel guilty that he died at only 22 years old and I have had so much more time on this Earth than him, but I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of it and that somehow makes it worse for me. It breaks my heart he didn’t get to progress with his life as he was a really great person and the last one you would have thought would be attacked for any reason. Still doesn’t feel real. Sorry for rambling on, I really did like the information in your article. Thanks and take care.

    1. Sorry to hear of your struggle. Sometimes our rambling makes great sense, thanks for stopping by. 

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