This is a difficult topic to talk about. Over the past year or so, many friends and family members have passed away. As many of you can imagine, it is very difficult to process the death of anyone let alone when you have work to think of and university papers to complete. It also makes things plenty more difficult when the death of a loved one is sudden and unexpected. I want to take the time to share my experience with this as it is something really hard to go through and some of you might be going through a similar experience.
Last autumn, one of my closest friends died unexpectedly. He was unfortunately was killed in a freak accident and his death was witnessed by some other friends. Not only was this a horrifying experience for those who were present at the time, but also for those who saw my friend as a role model. To be honest, when I first heard the news I didn’t believe it. I thought it was actually a joke. However, within a few minutes, I realized that my friend had actually died and that I would not seen him again in this lifetime.
Several emotions ran through me at this time, but I was given distractions as I had to tell my best friend what had occurred. She was much closer to our friend and had not yet been told the news. I don’t know how many of you have experienced telling someone that a very dear person to them has died, but it is awful. I will never forget that phone call or what events occurred after it. However, being there for someone else can sometimes help ease the grief we feel ourselves.
When someone we love dies, we tend to go through many different ranges of emotions. I’m not too familiar with what the five stages of grief are, but I think it is fair to say that most of us go through several different emotions during trying times. It is important to let yourself feel these emotions and process them. It has taken nearly a year to fully be able to talk about grief since my friend’s death happened. Sometimes it takes a long time to fully feel your emotions and process them. The only important thing to remember when going through this process is to not let these emotions ruin your life. If you find yourself unable to function on a daily basis a few weeks after the incident, it would probably be a good idea to find a professional counsellor to talk with. Grief is meant to be felt, but not meant to consume our lives.
Another thing that helps us deal with loss, is to understand that it is not our fault. Perhaps you are thinking that you could have prevented what happened to your loved one. This is hardly ever the case. We cannot control the actions of others or prevent situations we do not know were coming. In other cases, you may feel that you could have done more. Please try to understand that you have done all that you were able to at the time. Another thing to consider is that you cannot turn back time. As much as we would like this to be a reality, it simply isn’t. Try to cherish the good times you had with your loved ones and try to hold on to those memories. The memories we have are something that no one can steal from us. An exercise to try might be to write some of these memories down in a journal for future reference.
Another way to deal with the loss of a loved one is to find other people to talk to about it. Sometimes we can’t process emotions on our own and need other to facilitate it. A counsellor, a pastor, a family member, or even a trusted friend could all potentially help you manage and process your emotions. Journalling is another greatly to process emotions if no one is around to talk to.
Lastly, it is important to say good bye. This is especially true if their death was sudden. What I mean by this is to find a way you can have some closure. For many people, attending a funeral or memorial service facilitates getting closure. However, if you are like me, it may not. I tend to find closure through a more solitary means. I found that praying to God about my emotions or reflecting on good memories helps me to gain the closure I need. I’m not quite sure if it is possible, but in the case of my friend, I actually asked God to pass a message on in a prayer. Perhaps that is cheesy, but it was enough to provide me with closure and perhaps it will be enough for you too.
I hope that this has been helpful, especially if you have recently lost someone you love. It is never easy to go through, but is unfortunately something we all must face. I like to hold on to the hope that I will see those who have left this earth later on in Heaven one day. For now, that is enough for me.
How do you deal with the loss of a loved one?