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self help

Coping with the Death of a Loved One

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We grieve for those whom you were attached to. Where there was deep love, you will feel deep sorrow. There will be a profound awareness of something gone. Some of us will react to this separation by crying, others by silent contemplation. Old memories will rush back and you will want to re-experience your loved one, the smell of their clothes, the feel of their touch, the last conversations, the first recollections. It will hurt –  it does hurt a lot and like any kind of pain, It is hard to share with anyone else “exactly” how it feels, even if they are hurting as well. 

For as long as there has been life there has also been death – Death was here before you were born and will be here long after you die. Everyone around you has, is, or will experience losing someone they love. You will never be alone in this experience.

How do we cope with grief and how do we move on?

As a psychologist who has studied it and more importantly experienced losing loved ones almost every year since 2015, the hardest one being January 14th 2020, which is recent – I try to compile and combine my experience with the theories “out there.” Elizabeth Kublër Ross is the most quoted scientist on the study of death and dying, followed by David Kessler. My views differ slightly from theirs. I do not believe in life before and after death, and for someone like me, death is final. This makes it very, very painful as well.

Methods that I used to cope with my “Cosmic Ouch” as I like to call it.

Lesson 1 : I acknowledged that it hurts. And I said ouch, ouch, ouch.
Lesson 2 : I cried a “happy cry” because It was mixed with love and sadness in the same trickle
Lesson 3 : I felt no thirst but I drank water
Lesson 4 : I felt no hunger but I ate morsels
Lesson 5 : I felt alone yet I greeted people and hugged those I loved
Lesson 6 : I felt no sleep, but I lied down
Lesson 7 : I felt pain – there was a void in the pit of my tummy or heart that was spasmodic
Lesson 8 : I felt weak, but I had a bath
Lesson 9 : I felt sad, but I went to work
Lesson 10: Days became months and you learn to make space for pain, rather than resist it.

Time and saying “YES to life in spite of everything” have been the 2 medicaments that have healed me slowly. I am doing exactly as “she” for whom I grieve had asked me to do. I do not reject the pain, but neither do I indulge it.
I also try follow the manual she game me to “live life Queen-size”

“Don’t look back, only forward and onward”
“Get up tomorrow, go to work, despite yourself”
“Don’t ask how life is treating you. How are YOU treating life?”
“Heartbreak, Divorces and death, mean new beginnings, tell your clients that.”
“Always carry a handkerchief. You never know whom you’re going to make cry”

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