Coping with death of loved ones

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By Glenn Okayo

I have been a lucky lad, who hadn’t experienced death of a loved one untill I almost turned thirty. I am also lucky because the earlier deaths came when I was too young to understand what was going on. Now I am older, and honestly, it is even tougher. This time it felt as an infinity black to the eyes, and the darkness was inside me… and all I could think of is why?
No one really talks about what you will go through when someone you love and care about dies. As humans, we want to be supportive, positive and caring, but no.atter how closely we expect it, death almost always catche’s us by surprise. Truthfully, there will be many dark days, not just in that year but unexpected days throughout your life. Here are some of the most constructive ways to deal with the grief and continue to allow you to find peace in your dark moments.

Ordinarily, there are five most common stages through which we process grief;

Stage 1: Denial
Personally, I consider this shock more than denial. It is normal to think your loved one might call, walk through the door or after a night of sleep, wake up and hope the last days were part of a crazy nightmare.

Stage 2: Anger
After my dad passed away, because of his past smoking and the aggressive emphysema, I suddenly snapped when my brother had asked my sister to stop by a gas station so he could pick up a pack of cigarettes.Up until that moment I was the one not drinking, I was remaining calm and collect as we figured out tombstones and burial. But in this moment, after the layout, my poor brother felt all my wrath bare down on him in less than a minute.Feeling angry at God or blaming someone… all normal. Just make sure you apologize later, and realize it in fact this is the angry stage.

Stage 3: Bargaining
Once someone has passed, there isn’t a lot you can do to bring them back, too bad we aren’t in a comic book. Bargaining is part of the association with the guilt. You will most likely begin to question and analyze every moment leading up to that moment. If only I had driven a little slower… If only I had been home are all ways in which we commence our bargaining phase. Nothing is wrong with it. In fact this is the first true semblance of healing.

The “what if” will taunt you and honestly, there is just no way around it but tread through it. The fact is you can’t blame yourself; but the fact is you will doubt and regret every action you made up until that moment.

Stage 4: Depression
The depression hits hardest after the funeral has taken place and everyone else around you continues with life as “normal.” You will feel like you need to move on, you need to function in the world; But your thoughts and feelings eat at your soul, blanketing light. This is when my methods of dealing with the loss of the loved one will be most beneficial.

Stage 5: Acceptance
This is the most important, yet most difficult stage. People often ask, “Does it ever hurt any less?” My answer is, “It never ever hurts less, you just figure out how to cope with the hurt in a different way. I think this statement can’t explain it better to anyone after losing a love one. Acceptance is not letting go, but it is simply acknowledging what happened, and that there is nothing that can be done to change it.

How to Heal
What happens when your re-live stage four around holidays, birthdays or triggers from letters and past possessions?

  1. Visit the Cemetery
    To some this will sound obvious and to others it will be the worst thing I could suggest. The Truth is most times you go to cemetery it will make you face stage five again.
  2. Write
    Writing can be a release of your emotions, a personal way to connect to your love one, and a door to keep their legacy alive for generations. Sing even, just find an outlet to release the emotional burden that laddens you.
  3. Write about your memories
    When you are on stage four, or even stage five, one of the best things you can do is keep tabs on the times you’ve shared with your love one.Think… in generations to come, your love one won’t be just a picture or name in a family tree because your shared who they really are.
  4. Write A Letter
    When the holidays, birthday or major life event become hard to cope with their absence write them a letter. Explain to your love one how you feel and why you miss them.
  5. Pray
    You don’t have to be religious to pray, just human. For those with a religious background, I strongly advise practicing it heavily during your darkest hours. It will give you some light and comfort.
  6. Counseling
    Rather if it’s a professional or grieving support group, if you feel better when sharing with others, you should choose this route. Sometimes there is a lot of unfinished business and a professional can help you sort through the pieces, giving you an in-depth perception on your feelings. Don’t be hesitant to take this route. Your mental and emotional health deserve the break.
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