“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs
Death is inevitable. But death─ sudden or expected─ always brings sorrow and grief to the ones who are left behind. However, life still marches on. It is hard, but we must remember that as humans we have an immense ability to cope with anything that life brings. Although we all have different levels of coping abilities, there are several basic and universal steps to dealing with grief and finding hope again…
1. Allow The Feelings To Flow
Losing someone you love will conjure all unimaginable emotions within you, sorrow, regret, guilt, pain, grief, heartbreaks, misery, anger, sadness and many more. Feeling these emotions all at once can be extremely difficult. It is quite normal, so let them flow. You do not need to suppress them. Cry all you want. With time and allowing grief to be released, it will become less painful. It is an important process that will help you in dealing with grief and accepting your loss.
2. Talk About It When You Can
Talking about the death of your loved ones can be a way of remembering them and can help you understand what happened. It will give you the opportunity to start the healing process. Denying the death of a loved one can result in isolation and you pushing away your family and friends.
3. Find a Support System
Coping with a loved one’s death is never easy; especially if you are dealing with it alone. You need support coming from your family and friends so that you can find comfort and overcome grief faster. Moreover, while your family and friends can be your greatest source of support for overcoming the death of someone, but it is also advisable that you take advice from professional people when you find all the emotions and pain too hard to handle. Psychologists give professional advice and develop strategies according to your needs to get you through the grieving process.
4. Understand the Grieving Process
Dealing with grief and bereavement is a process. It is quite important to allow yourself to experience every stage of the grieving process for you to completely heal. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief in her book titled “On Death and Dying.” These stages are not necessarily experienced in order and some stages can be revisited. These five stages are:
Dealing with death can be overwhelming. It is an incomprehensible experience and you can find it hard to believe that your loved one is gone. You continue to deny that it is not happening and there is no way that your loved one left you.
As you realize the reality of your situation you begin to feel angry. Your anger or fury might be directed to your loved one for leaving you, to the doctors for not doing their job and healing your loved one, to God who took your loved one or even to yourself for maybe not being a better person to your loved one. All of this is quite normal and will pass.
It is quite common for an individual to start bargaining or negotiating with a higher power, like God. Do not be surprised or think that you are crazy when you start making deals with God like: “I will be better, just please give him back to me.”
The sorrow and overwhelming sadness you feel after the death of a loved one is normal. It is common to feel that your life will never be the same again. This feeling does not last forever and will pass with time.
This stage does not necessarily mean that you accept or come to terms that your loved one is already dead. It does not mean that if you are already at this stage, you will not revisit the other stages above. But rather, it means that the pain and grief of losing someone you love will reduce and become more manageable.
5. Celebrate Life
You need to mourn the death of your loved ones, but there comes a time when you need to turn from the mourning toward a new stage, of celebrating life again. Understanding that death is inevitable and that we will all die someday will give you an opportunity to live your life to the fullest. Remember that your life does not stop when someone you love passes away. Ask yourself this: “Would he or she be happy seeing me like this forever because they passed?” Cry as much as you need to, but know that your family and friends are still there for you, ready to walk forward and to live life fully with you now. Celebrate the fact that you are living.
6. Preserve Precious Memories
Someone so special to you might be gone but their memories stay. Keep all photographs, things he or she gave you, or create a memorial like planting a tree to remember your loved one. This will help you keep all the memories you shared together and overcome your loss.
It always feels so unfair when someone you love passes away, but that does not mean you have to stop living. God created us, human beings, to be strong and to survive anything. So, grieve as much as you need to, and remember you will be able to stand up and smile again. After all, your loved ones may not have stayed with you, but the memories you have with them will forever stay in your heart.