Surviving The Loss Of A Loved One
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The loss of a loved one is a topic not many people discuss openly. It’s a tough subject, and it’s completely understandable. But, just because we don’t talk about it, about the pain, doesn’t mean it’s not always rearing its ugly head into our lives.
Surviving the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things in life we have to learn to navigate. We are forced to figure out how to live a new normal life. It’s raw. It’s painful. It hurts more than we ever imagined. It’s a long and new journey, figuring out what your new normal is.
I was putting my 5-year-old to bed a couple nights ago, and she started asking about my Wela. My Wela passed in February from a lymphoma. She had tumors in her head that quickly took her from us. My daughter pretty much cried herself to sleep, in my arms, crying and wanting to hug Wela. That had me thinking a lot the next couple of days about the death of my Wela, and anytime I think about death thought’s of my dad pop up also.
My dad committed suicide in 2006, at the age of 42. It was completely unexpected. I did talk to him on the phone the day before and knew the conversation was not normal but knowing my dad, I blew it off. I felt a lot of guilt for not asking and demanding answers as to why I felt something was wrong. But in the end, I know there is nothing I could’ve done.
This has been the most painful thing I have ever experienced and now, 11 years later, still feel. I couldn’t function. The most usual and mundane tasks made me stress and cry. I would cry over what to eat for dinner or what color of panties to wear. Yes, seriously. You really are trying to figure out how to live again.
My dad’s death was sudden. I, nor anyone else, knew this was coming.
My Wela’s was not so sudden. We had a little over a month with her on hospice, before she passed.
I thought before my Wela died, that if I had known, that was y last conversation with my dad. Or that that was the day he was going to die, that it would have been a little easier. But I was wrong. Knowing my Wela was going to die soon just started the mourning process earlier. I watched as the tumors stole the Wela I always knew away. Maybe, she was laying in front of me, but it wasn’t even close to being the same.
My point is, knowing or not knowing a head of time doesn’t make it any easier. Getting to say goodbye doesn’t make it any easier. I said goodbye, and I still wish I had said more. That I had said, I Love You over and over again.
There are so many “what if’s” when dealing with the loss of a loved one. It’s part of the grieving process.
Now, I am no expert but I have been through this a time or two, so I have picked up some things along the way.
How To Survive The Loss Of A Loved One
- Write – Let it out. Grab a journal or a notebook and just let it out. This is one of the last things I finally decided to try, writing just wasn’t me, or so I thought. I didn’t like the traditional write in a journal way. I wrote letters to my dad. It felt more normal and really helped me to start healing. The journal is for no one but you. It will help you process in ways that other people can’t. Just write what ever comes and let the healing begin.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Call family or a friend and just talk. Go grab coffee with a friend. Even if you just sit in silence with their company. Just tell them what you need.
- Even if that helps is professional – It took me getting on medication to be able to function on a day to day basis. There is no shame in it. I even visited a few support groups and therapists. Sometimes you need a little help getting going.
- Do what you need to grieve – If that means crying, then cry. If you are highly sensitive, you might until the pain is not so raw to let it out and that’s perfectly okay. Tuck it away, you’ll get it out when you are ready.
- Remember, every loss is different – You might go through the process differently from one loss to the next. Your healing time table will be different from someone else. Some may grieve in days, weeks or months. While others will grieve in years.
- Breathe – Sometimes you just need to breathe. With all you are going through it’s often forgotten.
- Remember this… While it will always be hard, it won’t always be so raw.