Five Tips for Dealing with the Death of a Loved One
Death is never easy to deal with. However close you were to the person changes the grieving process, but every grief is different. It manifests itself in a variety of ways. There are things you can do to help yourself through any process of grief, but it is always hard. You won’t be able to make it easy, but you can make it easier. Whether your spouse died suddenly or if your parents are getting older and you don’t know how to cope with it, here are five tips to help you deal with someone’s death.
Have the Hard Conversations
Whether you are watching someone get older or have someone die on you suddenly, you shouldn’t hesitate to have the hard questions. If you are in the midst of sudden grief, you may shy away from difficult topics because it hurts too much. You should, of course, allow yourself to grieve, but you shouldn’t hide from reality. Confronting the truth and having hard conversations with the living is completely necessary. It doesn’t matter if you know someone is going to die or if they were lost suddenly, try your best to have the courage to have the difficult end of life conversations.
Look at Cemeteries and Funeral Homes
You may be a part of the process that requires you to handle some of the logistics of a death. Even if it hurts, go to look at cemeteries and funeral homes. Whether the person is gone or still here, this is an essential part of the grieving process. When you have a parent who is about to die, go to these places before they’re gone. You will be confronted with the reality of their death earlier and give yourself a head-start on the process. You can’t predict how you will feel after a death, but you can do your best to have a healthy outlook on death and mortality.
Take Part in Planning the Service
Even though everyone will be grieving after a loss of a loved one, someone needs to plan the funeral or memorial services. It’s necessary, but it also can be used as a way to grieve. You are literally planning their rest, you can’t hide from it any longer. If you’re afraid to do it because it’s too real, take some time but then throw yourself into the planning and preparation. Don’t go too fast, but don’t sulk either. It can be difficult to know when to get back to work, but allowing yourself grace and holding yourself accountable can be balanced effectively.
Make Symbolic Gestures
Another way to grieve is to make symbolic gestures. When the person loved something in particular or shared something private with you, making a gesture for the dead can help you feel at peace. While these gestures are typically coping mechanisms for the living, if you are a spiritual person and believe the dead go to heaven or somewhere else, making a symbol of something can be very powerful. When you’re wondering what to bring to a memorial service, think about your connection with that person and place a symbol on their coffin when they’re buried, place their ashes in a specific place, or put into words as a eulogy.
Accept Lack of Control
In the end, no one can control who lives or dies. It doesn’t matter if you went above and beyond to make the home of your elderly parent safe with medical alert systems and other security measures. You can’t do anything about a sudden death. Acknowledging that you have no power over these situations and there was nothing you could do to save a person, you will be able to more accurately grieve and introspect about the person.
The end of life is never easy to deal with. The loss is permanent, but there are plenty of ways to help yourself cope with a death or the inevitability that everyone’s life is finite. We have mortal existences and the more you engage with these uncomfortable truths, the better you will be able to handle deaths both sudden and not. Have those conversations you don’t want to have while people are alive, in the end you will be glad that you did.