John Singleton: How Can You Manage Grief After the Death of a Loved One?

Fans and celebrities paid tribute to John Singleton, who is best known for writing and directing the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. Singleton died on April 29, 2019, after suffering a massive stroke. He was 51 years old. Those who were close to the director expressed deep sorrow over the loss.

Managing grief can be difficult, especially if you were very close to the person who passed away. How can you manage grief after the death of a loved one? The Cheat Sheet chatted with Adina Mahalli, MSW, a mental health professional, relationship expert, and author at Maple Holistics to learn how to begin the healing process after a loved one dies.

John Singleton| David Livingston/Getty Images
John Singleton| David Livingston/Getty Images

The Cheat Sheet: What’s the best way to recover from the loss of a significant other?

Adina Mahalli: The best way to get over a loss is to not rush past the emotions. Your brain and heart need time to process everything, and you cannot truly move on until you’ve done this work. So, let yourself feel but also make sure to still engage in self-care. In your darkest times, times when it’s hard to climb out of your funk, think about what your partner would have wanted for you. Perhaps you discussed it before they died, or maybe not. But either way, you know that they would have wanted you to go on to live a happy, fulfilling life, so keep this in mind as you try to find your way.

John Singeton and Angela Bassett|Earl Gibson III/Getty Images
John Singeton and Angela Bassett|Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

CS: What should you do when upsetting memories flood back?  

AM: When upsetting memories rush back, give yourself a bit of a reality check. Is there a reason that these particular memories are popping up just now? Is the memory itself upsetting you, or is it simply the idea of the loss that is hard? Remember the good with your significant other, but also remember that you have a new normal now and that you must be able to compartmentalize these memories in order to live your best life.

John Singleton and Taraji P. Henson| Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
John Singleton and Taraji P. Henson| Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

CS: What’s the best way to deal with loneliness?

AM: The best way to get through grief is to have a strong support system in place. Make sure you have some close family members or friends whom you can speak to on a regular basis. This will give you an outlet when you’re sad and will also bring some routine to your day.

Speaking of routine, make an effort to keep yourself busy. If you work, make sure to get back into the rhythm. Also consider going to the gym, joining an improv group, or doing another activity that brings you joy. This will distract you from your grief, hopefully bring you a few laughs, and make you feel good that you’re doing something positive for yourself.

CS: How can you support a friend or loved one who is dealing with the loss of a significant other?

AM: If you have a friend who’s experiencing a loss, don’t forget about them! Call or text them regularly to check in on them and remind them that they’re not alone. Invite them to join you in activities so that they don’t feel forgotten. And encourage them to focus on self-care so that they value their worth and remain as happy and healthy as possible.

Read more: Lauren London Taught Us an Important Relationship Lesson at Nipsey Hussle’s Funeral

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