Here on LFTN our main goal is to try and move on with our lives and grow from our struggles. But there is one thing few people easily move on from. The passing of a loved one or even just an acquaintance can seriously hurt you. It’s not just in the week you discover their death, but months and years after. You find those silent moments when you’re given time to think often drift to memories of those loved ones.
This post is to try help people suffering the grieving process to understand that they are not alone and to teach them that there are ways to help move past it. After all, your loved ones wouldn’t want you to fade away because they have gone.
You may be wondering what prompted this post and the maudlin topic. Some may be thinking Bowie or Rickman are the inspiration, but it is more personal to me then that. I will use my real life experiences to help show the types of grief that can be encountered.
Laura and I had a granddad who suffered cancer for a long time and there were many ups and downs where we expected he would get better. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It felt like the family had already gone through the grieving process by the time his funeral came along, and it helped us all grow from that. We accepted his passing with more ease than I’ve encountered since then with other passings.
Later, our mother’s dad passed unexpectedly and left us all shocked. There was no build up and only the devastation it has left behind. With no funeral due to money, no one gained the mandatory closure and everyone in the family felt ‘haunted’ by him at one point or another. It is well known that grief can cause hallucinations and had once lent to the idea of ghosts. It was, in fact, one of the very reasons why funerals were created.
THE YOUNG ONES
This one is the worst, I feel. Both of my grandfathers had accepted death would happen at one point or another and had lived full and meaningful lives. But two of my old friends passed last summer from two very different causes. Both were very sudden and one death can be confirmed as heartrendingly violent. Since then I have noticed issues within myself that I did not have before then. I have grown phobias such as ladders, lost skills such as swimming, grown more argumentative and I have become desensitised to horror. These two boys had been key in my childhood as they were, in fact, the only people I related to due to shared mental health issues and sense of humour.
OVERCOMING DEATH REACTIONS
So there are some of the types of death and reactions to them. Now you know how different they can be, what can you do to overcome them?
- Try and understand the stages of grief – That way, you’ll understand that feeling empty is natural and nothing to be afraid of.
- Keep a routine – When you see a pulp cop drama, the old detective is rotting in his own muck because his old partner or family member has passed. The point I’m making here, is that that is what grief does. You lack motivation and your appetite drastically changes. If you let yourself deteriorate you will feel even worse and less likely to escape grief. So make a routine where you get up between 7am and 10am. Make a food chart and even resort to a timetable if you have to. That way you keep yourself healthy and make it far easier to recover.
- Talk to someone – Whether it be a therapist or a family member who didn’t know the late friend, you really should talk to someone. Grief is a string inside you, tangled in knots and hurting your health. Talking about it allows you to pull at that string and unravel it. No, your questions may not be answered as to the whys and whens, but you will be able to live with the understanding that death is natural.
- Write a journal – Do not be embarrassed at all about writing a journal about your grief process. Even if you never read it again, just write down every thought. They might come in the form of a story, telling the journal of your memories of your friend. Or maybe even just a mindless flow of emotions and ranting.
- Approach your new problems – Whatever problems you have grown to have since the grief appeared, learn around them. If you have forgotten how to do something, re-learn from the ground up. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just as with a phobia.
One belief in the world of psychology is that you grow phobias of certain things after a death because you have become more aware of ‘fate’ and a fear for your own mortality has been adopted.
You never truly get over the death of a loved one and they will never be forgotten but it is important to live your life to the fullest, in memory and in respect to those who are no longer with us.