Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London: How Can You Recover from the Loss of a Partner?
Rapper Nipsey Hussle died tragically on March 31, 2019. Among the loved ones he left behind is his longtime girlfriend Lauren London. The actress has had a tough time dealing with her partner’s death, especially since they shared a young son together. In an Instagram post, London described herself as feeling “lost.”
How can you heal from the loss of a significant other? The Cheat Sheet spoke with Jacob Brown, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in grief and aging. Here’s what Brown had to say.
The Cheat Sheet: What’s the best way to move past the loss of a significant other?
Jacob Brown: I don’t believe that we “move past” losses. Terms like “move past” or “get over” imply that we can get back to the way things “used to be.” The idea that we’re waiting until we will feel “normal” again actually delays recovery. Instead, we have to come to accept that we are forever changed by our loss. We are no longer the same person we were before the loss. If we were married, and now we’re widowed, we have to find and accept our new identity as a widow. And learn to move forward in this new life without our spouse.
CS: What should you do when upsetting memories flood back? How can you ground yourself?
JB: There is no way to stop these memories from coming up. Anniversary dates of the death, birthdays, holidays, events, movies, and talking with old friends will trigger memories. We can’t fight these memories. The best path is to accept them. Take a moment to experience the memory rather than trying to push it out of your mind. Sit quietly and remember and cry if you feel like crying. If you feel the need to calm yourself, learn a few mindful breathing techniques. But the most important thing is not to try and deny the memories or the feelings. You’ve had a terrible loss, its only reasonable to feel sad.
CS: What’s the best way to deal with loneliness after the funeral is over and people stop calling and visiting you?
JB: This is a very common problem for which there is no simple solution. I suggest to my patients:
1. Actively tell friends relatives that you’d appreciate it if they continued to give you a call. Often, people don’t call because they’re afraid of intruding.
2. Don’t wait for people to call–call them.
3. Join a grief group where you can share feelings and hear other people’s experiences.
4. Join other groups or activities that provide social interactions.
CS: How can you support a friend or loved one who is dealing with the loss of a significant other?
1. Call or visit – you’re not intruding.
2. Ask them if they’d like to talk about the loved one who has died. They may not want to talk about the person, but it is very comforting to know that you’re willing to listen to them.
3. Just listen. People need to tell their grief story–often over and over again. You can’t overstate the benefit of having someone who will just listen.
4. Do not try to make them feel better or say things like “he’s in a better place,” or “Isn’t it time you got over this?” or “She wouldn’t want you to be sad.”
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