Dealing with Death and Grief
It has been a very sad 2 weeks. It feels like the death of Kobe, Gigi and all the people in that tragic accident 2 weeks ago hit the world so hard and a shift took place. As I sit and write this, my mind is bombarded with so many thoughts and I’m flooded with so many different emotions. I’m in shock, I’m sad, I’m overwhelmed and I’m heartbroken for the loss I feel and for the unimaginable loss Kobe’s wife, daughters and other people for the loss of their loved ones. It pains me when I think about all the people who died in that crash, multiple family members just gone on a regular Sunday morning while going to a children’s basketball game.
Although loss and grief come in different forms, I am not new to it. I have lost a few loved ones, from family members to high school friends. I also know how death can be even more devastating when the loss is sudden, when the person is young and most especially when they pass away leaving young children behind. I remember being in nursing school and getting the news that my aunt who was in her early thirties had passed away from pregnancy induced cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), leaving my young nieces who were still toddlers. Also, I had another aunt who was sick, went to the hospital and was said to be getting well but all of a sudden passed away. Then I had my other aunt who kept on having severe back pain, was diagnosed with lymphoma and within a few weeks passed away. Both aunts also left behind their only children who were still minors.
Losing a loved one can be so traumatic and grief can be so unpredictable. No matter how much time passes an incident may trigger your feelings of loss and you start grieving again. I’ve had incidents where I have dreamt about a loved one who passed away and I have woken up sobbing. Or, when I get multiple calls back to back or a loved one calls me at an unusual time, it sometimes makes me anxious because I start thinking that something bad has happened because that’s how I’ve gotten bad news in the past.
Despite how many years has gone by, I still remember people who have passed away at different times. I may have random thoughts about all the loved ones they left behind, I may be sad about not ever seeing them, never hearing their voice, never seeing their smile again or I may remember certain mannerisms or things they did and said.
So, in times of grief I try to find answers, meaning to the tragedy to cope with the grief but sometimes there are no answers and no words for it.
What do you say to someone who has lost a loved one that meant so much to them?
What do you say when someone passes away, especially when their life is cut short so suddenly especially at a young age when they still had so much life to live and so much potential to do great things in the world?
Also, I find myself wondering
Did they live a full life? Did they accomplish all that they wanted to? Did they accomplish all that God wanted them to? What happened? Could it have been prevented? Why did they have to go now?
As a Christian we are told that God is in control and everything will work together for our good. We are told that everything happens for a reason and it probably does because somehow in time of great tragedy people have a tendency to come together to help and support each other. I have seen the best of humanity in the worst of situations.
But what I have come to understand is that once we’re born into this world, we are on a journey to discover and build relationship with ourselves, our maker and our purpose in this world. With each phase we learn and grown from our experiences and at the end of that journey we hope to leave a legacy when we physically die and are reborn spiritually into eternity. We live in a world where anything can happen to anyone at any time regardless of who you are, where you come from, how much money or power you have. Therefore, the next second is never guaranteed because in a blink of an eye things can change and someone may be gone with all their hopes, dreams, goals, plans and their loved ones left behind to grieve, pick up the pieces and hopefully continue their legacy.
So just as death is a part of live, so is grief. It’s one of those things that people don’t know what to do with it and never prepare you for it until you experience it. Everyone deals with grief and loss differently but one thing I’ve learned in this life is that when you do not acknowledge, process, deal with the emotion and heal from it, it often comes back to control you. According to psychologist there are 5 stages of grief, from denial and isolation to anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Not everyone goes through each stage and not in the same order because how a person grieves and deals with loss is very personal. As a Christian I do believe in heaven and hell. When a loved one pass, I pray that they are in a much better place but it sometimes doesn’t take away the pain, sorrow, sadness and loss you feel about that person.
This world can be so crazy, filled with so much pain and traumatic events but life is also beautiful and God is great despite it. God is still supreme even when we do not have the answers we seek, when we do not understand or have the words to deal with it. In times like this I just have faith in God even when I don’t understand. I reflect on my feelings, I journal to process it, I talk to someone, I cry and cherish the great memories we had, I talk to God, I find quiet moments to feel and release.
I also stay encouraged knowing that as long as there is life there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is life. So, have faith that your loved ones are in a better place, have hope to keep their memories alive. Honor them by continuing their legacy either by continuing the work they did, supporting the causes the loved or adopting the principles they lived by. Support their loved ones, hold on to the hope and assurance that God gives through his words. God comforts, God strengthens, God heals and stay encouraged that one day we will all meet again in Gods kingdom where there is no pain, no sickness, no accidents or sadness.
Death has a way of also making us think of our mortality and our own legacy. So, ask yourself these questions. What is the meaning of life? What mark are you leaving in the world? How do you make people feel? How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone? How are you making a positive impact in our community? How are you adding value to someone’s life? What type of legacy are you building?1