How to Cope With the Loss of a Loved One
Today at 2:50pm marks nine years since my daddy lost his battle with lung cancer. I can’t believe it’s been almost a decade. Did time really fly this fast? Sigh.
Daddy and I saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things actually. Our work ethics are the same. We both love to learn. When it comes to projects, details matter. When going out, look put together, even if you’re dressed casually because you never know who you’re going to meet. Man, I miss him so much.
Instead of mourning, I want to celebrate daddy’s life by helping someone today. I’ve had a lot of friends lose their family members recently and as hard as it is to talk about this subject, I wanted to talk about how to cope with the loss of a loved one. I hope this helps someone out there.
Allow yourself to feel every single emotion.
It’s normal to not know how to react to the death of a loved one when it happens. When my daddy died, I cried a lot at the hospital. Honestly, I don’t think I ever cried that hard in my life. The next morning, I remember laying there on my bed as the sun beat on me. I was sweating profusely, but I didn’t care. I was sad, but on a I-don’t-care-about-anyone-or-anything level. A few of my friends came over to see how I was, but I barely even spoke to them. At his viewings, I was numb. I didn’t know what to feel. I was more exhausted than anything. Maybe it was because I was tired, but I didn’t resist feeling any emotion. I just let it happen as it happened.
Express your feelings.
If you want to punch a pillow, punch a pillow. If you want to scream and cry, scream and cry. On the day my daddy died, I sobbed in his nurse’s arms like I had known her all my life. After that, I went to a room nearby (I think it was a big supply closet) and just cried so loud in that room. I cried with all the energy I had in me. And you know what? Despite a sad situation, I felt better afterwards. During difficult moments in life, you don’t need anyone’s permission to express how you feel.
Talk it out.
Have you ever had a long talk with a family member or friend and you feel so much better afterwards? In trying times like the loss of a loved one, talking about the person, their life, their struggles, wins, etc. can help you cope. For me, blogging about what happened on my MySpace (can you believe I just said that?) and making the public announcement on Facebook after his funeral helped. Since I had quite a few long-distance friends, it helped to have their support even if they were far away. Whether it’s a family member, friend, psychologist, therapist or your pastor, if you need to talk to someone, talk to someone. You may feel that you don’t need to be comforted. However, needing someone to listen to how you’re feeling is a comfort in itself.
Lean on your family and friends.
When people say, “I’m here for you if you need me,” they really mean it. My mom and brother were coping in their own ways while leaning on each other too. I leaned hard on my friends and church family. When my pastor called (he’s poppy to me) and asked what I needed, I said, “Prayer. Lots of it.” He asked if that was all I needed. I said, “Yes, lot and lots of prayer. That and strength.” He told me, “You got it. I’ll be praying for you, sweetie and will let everyone at church know.” In times of grief, don’t think that you’re bothering your support system. If they offer support, it’s okay to take them up on it because you’re going to need it.
Honor your loved one with your actions and keep going.
It’s extremely difficult losing a loved one. Aside from my daddy, I also lost my second mom (Rachie’s mom) to a rare form of back cancer a little over two years ago. Honoring your loved one through action keeps you going. Whether it’s opening a for-purpose organization of something they loved doing when they were alive, a scholarship in their name or just living out your dream, honor your loved one through action. As soon as I stepped off the plane from Florida, I went straight to an honor society event. People asked me what I was doing there. For me, I couldn’t see myself at home alone with my thoughts. I think that would’ve killed me had I done that. I just kept going to work, school, attending events and volunteering. Anything to keep my mind off of what had just happened.
Rachie asked me something along the lines of, “How did you and Sarah do it? You got over your dad’s death so quickly and Sarah seems to have moved on.” That’s the crazy part. To her, I looked like I got over my dad’s passing so fast. To her, Sarah looked like she got over her mom’s passing so fast. Behind closed doors, I cried a lot. Rachie just didn’t see any of it. I told her that how I coped with my loss is not how everyone will deal with their loss. How Sarah dealt with her loss is different too. Everyone is different, so the way we handle experiences in life are different too. In my opinion, when you stay busy, it just helps ease the pain a bit. You also feel a bit better when you’re honoring them in the journey.
I’m not going to lie to you. Life won’t be the same ever again after you lose a loved one. It’s just different. The truth is, you’ll never get over losing a loved one (especially a parent in my case), you just have to learn to live life without them. Every once in a while, I find myself crying out of nowhere because I miss my daddy or mom #2 (that’s what she called herself around me, lol).
Just remember that you’re not on this journey alone. Give yourself to feel and express your emotions, talk to someone, lean on your support system and honor your loved one(s) by taking action to keep their memory alive.
Tell me, if you’ve lost a loved one, how did you cope with their passing?
If you’ve lost someone, I hope this helps you. Also, if you know someone who has lost someone (it doesn’t matter how long ago), please share this post with them. I wish you all a wonderful weekend!0