Unfortunately death is a part of living, and all of us must cope with the loss of a loved one more than once in our lives. Perhaps it is only after the death of my own mother, that I found the need to write this to reach out to those in need during their times of loss. There are five points I’d like to make in hope that it may help someone else who is trying to come to terms with their loss.
Number One: Remember the good, and know there is no good time. I lost my mother only a few days before Christmas, and people say that it’s hardest at the holidays. Perhaps it’s because they think each holiday you will remember the death of your loved one and how much you miss them. Although that’s true, it wouldn’t make me feel any better if the passing happened in the middle of summer, because I will remember it no matter what. The only solace is remembering the good memories of the loss of your love one. This holiday I remembered the good times, and not focused so much on the passing. That’s my suggestion to you no matter what time of year it occurs, fill yourself with the happy thoughts.
Number Two: Grieving is different for everyone, and nothing is wrong. What I learned from my mother carried over into her death, that the grieving process is unique. First of all, don’t let anyone tell you the way in which you are dealing with things is wrong or crazy. There is no wrong or right. This time is meant for you to deal with your loss. The process varies from person to person and impacts each person differently.
When my grandmother died over ten years ago, my life stopped for several months as I was consumed by it. I could not work, I could not eat, and could not sleep, I went through so many mixed up emotions, I had to sort them out at my own pace and find peace in her death. If you would have asked me then would I ever come to terms with it, I would have replied no. Now I have but it took a very long time.
I believe working through that gave me the strength and endurance now when my mother died. My mother had told me constantly not to grieve her death but celebrate her life. Of course these words are easier said than done, as everyone grieves a loss of a loved one. With the experience of loss of my grandmother and application of what my mother told me, I was able to focus move forward rather quickly. I did this within a week in baby steps in comparison to the six month hiatus of my grandmother. Some may think that is crazy, wrong, or unheard of, but perhaps it is the constant thought of her that continues to keep me focused and strong and continue living my life the way in which she’d want me to.
Number Three: You must come to terms with how or why they died. You may never find out why. Some of us don’t know how it happened and never will. These factors aren’t what you should focus on. Though you will be hateful, sad, or feel its’ unfair for someone to be taken from you, you must focus on grieving your loss and focusing on the good. My mother survived a cancer operation and was declared cancer free. Four hours later she was found dead in her hospital bed. Questions will remain unanswered, but I find acceptance in realizing she is in a better place.
Number Four: Memorial or not, you must find peace with their final wishes. With so many different beliefs, religions and economic issues these days, people are finding themselves trying to cope with a loss of someone who may have passed but the memorial service is not what they expect. There was actually a time in history, where people were on display or shown in their own homes due to lack of funds. Native American Indians will still sit with a body for several days and have the wake in their homes-for it is a period of crossing and a celebration of life that helps in the mourning process.
Over time there became a need for proper “services” in churches or funeral homes, followed by a funeral procession. Some people choose now to be cremated then buried, or perhaps cremated which others can’t agree with or understand. No matter what the case, you must make peace with the final wishes or doings of the physical body, and realize that the spiritual soul and astral body is altogether different.
My mother’s wishes were to not have any memorial and to be cremated. She was Christian but never wanted any type of service in a church. She now sits on a shelf in her home, much to the dismay of grieving family or co-workers who wish to go through the motions of what they find acceptable. This just proves these type services are for the living to accept a loss, and not for the dead who aren’t here to worry about it. The solace that keeps me going is to realize I am part of my mother, she lives on in me, and her love is all around me. I am consumed by great memories of which no one can take from me and though some may disagree, it is only right to honor the wishes of the one who passed even if you don’t agree with them. So should you remember this when you lose a loved one, family member or good friend. Sit back and respect their final wishes.
Number Five: Get strong and be prepared to see true colors of people around you, some of which may not be so pretty. I certainly hope this is not the case with you, but if it is, prepare yourself and get strong.
Often times distant family will reach out when someone dies to offer condolences which may surprise you but should be embraced and appreciated as part of the support system. Close family will bond and help you through the rough times.
However, more often than not, shines the ugly and flip side of this coin. My mother used to always say when something dies, the vultures descend. Often people who have greed in their hearts (family, friends, or the like) are more concerned with the material aspect of things and this proves perfect timing for people to take advantage of a situation. Not only this, but this is a time where blood may turn on blood and shut you out.
When a loved one leaves behind a home, belongings, money, or vehicles, you will be certain that the vultures will be swarming like you’ve never imagined. Perhaps your own flesh and blood who didn’t care about their loved one while they were alive will come out of the woodwork to see what’s in it for them now that they have passed. Tensions run high and the best thing you can do in this scenario is to step back and allow the estate owner or personal representative to deal with things. Though you may be physically sick over the fact that your loved one’s hard earned items are going to be looted by unworthy others, or you may not agree with the decisions made, you must remember these are only material things and in the grand scheme of things none of this now matters. Nothing will bring your loved one back, but you still have your memories and those are priceless. Your loved one would most certainly not want you to be worrying about their material things but instead being happy and remembering them the best you can.
In addition to this many families are further divided or damaged by death. In a situation where people never got along in he first place, death seems to be an amplifier. Get strong and realize these are the same so-called family members that never called you at Thanksgiving anyways, so why should they care about your feelings now? You may feel you are being kicked when you are down, but it’s up to you to bring yourself up. Lean on friends and family members who are positive and not negative. Draw from your strength inside and realize you can’t make a perfect world. Sure, your loved one wouldn’t want them to be acting this way, but what can you do about it? Possibly only learn to accept the things you cannot change, and know this too shall pass.
Number Six: Additional help is sometimes necessary. If time has gone by and you still can’t accept a loved one’s death, there are grief support counselors and meetings in almost every area. Sometimes the HR department at your work can refer you to these services and it may be something that your insurance helps pay for. You can privately locate these by doing an internet search and find support groups in your area. If you are in religious group go to your pastor or church for guidance. Never be scared to ask for help. We all need it once in awhile.
Most of all, remember, you are not alone in your loss.