How To Deal With The Death Of A Loved One

Only one thing is certain in life… we will all die.  Barring unfortunate accidents, chances are that you will see at least one person you love die before your own time comes.

The death of someone you love can be completely devastating.  It has caused more than one person to completely fall apart, and even leads to suicides from time to time.

On a smaller scale, it can lead you to become passive, to give up really working for anything.  This, too, is a kind of death… a slow, sad death of self.

You can’t suppress these feelings and have them go away.  That’s one of the reasons that becoming passive is deadly, mentally… you never take the action that is necessary to healing.

The path that any one individual takes to heal from the emotional wounds of someone close to them dying is unique.  No two people deal with things in exactly the same way, not even twins.

There is one thing that all paths to healing have in common, however… taking some kind of action.  Below is a list of some actions that may help you to deal with the the death of a loved one:

  1. Admitting And Accepting How Much It Hurts

    The first, almost always unconscious, defensive reaction to someone close to you dying is to deny how much it hurts.  This is pure survival instinct, much the same as your mind blocks out too much physical pain.

    It is counter productive, however.  Denying and suppressing the pain just makes it stay there at the same intensity, never healing, hurting in the background.  Admitting and accepting how much it hurts means that you can start to send some of your mind’s (and your body’s) resources over to begin healing.

  2. Talking To Someone You Trust

    Talking to someone you trust is a good way to deal with any issue that has been bothering you lately.  You may even be surprised at what comes out… sometimes the thing that hurts the most is not what you expect, and it may pop out of your mouth unexpectedly while telling someone you trust.

    It also lets them know that you trust them enough to expose your vulnerabilities, which can strengthen a relationship that already exists (but can be really hard on a very new relationship), whether friends, family, or significant other.

  3. Remembering The Good Times

    Remembering the good times can bring a smile to your face, and rest to your heart.  It can help you to have those memories be what comes up when you think of the person who died, rather than the pain of losing them.

    This is particularly effective when it is shared… remembering the good times with other people who knew, and especially loved, the person who is gone can really help to ease the pain.

  4. Internal Quiet

    I’m a big proponent of what I call internal quiet.  It is the process of dealing with all the day to day distractions until your mind becomes quiet, and then allowing bigger, more persistent things to come up and have their time.

    More detail on internal quiet can be found here.

  5. Writing A Letter

    This is one that may sound odd to some, but really tends to let some of the pain out.  It’s simple, and just what it sounds like… write a letter to the person who is gone, telling them how you feel, what you miss about them, what your hopes and dreams are… essentially one last message to them, telling them everything you want them to know or wish you had said while they were still alive.

    This is one that I personally plan on doing soon, to my grandma who died early this year.

You don’t have to do these things immediately… after all, it’s been nearly a year and I’m just now thinking about doing number five.  Some of them are even things you may want to do many times, like remembering the good times.

You also don’t have to do these things… you just need to do something.  You need to take some sort of action to let the pain go and the healing start.

One more thing… it’s not an overnight process.  It isn’t even something that is done in a week, or a month.  It’s just a place to start, and let time and your natural healing processes have their effect.

PS – Thank you to my wife, who helped me with the second action listed above last night.

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