By Suann Bidwell, Owner of the Bidwell Group.
Death is not a popular topic, but unfortunately it is a reality that eventually everyone faces with someone who is close to them in their lives. When it does happen, whether sudden or someone passing from a long term illness it is never easy. Everyone grieves differently, some people handle it as best they can, and some just can’t recover at all from the loss of their loved one. I have personally suffered the loss of a teenage brother due to a car accident, and can tell you nothing is ever the same, you just get to the place where you eventually have a “new normal”.
I wanted to provide you with some information to help you or someone you know or love who may be going through this, to help them along this new journey that they may be experiencing.
- Grieve. This sounds logical, but some people don’t let themselves cry, or show any emotion for the loss they just suffered. Everyone grieves differently, and none expects someone who just lost a loved one to go back to “normal living” right away.
- Give yourself or your friend time to deal with the loss. They say time heals all wounds, but in reality, the loss will always be there, it will hurt less as time goes on, but the reality is you never forget, you just learn how to deal with it and live your life.
- Keeping the memory of the person alive. A number of people deal with the loss by keeping the memory of their loved one alive, it helps them go through the grieving process and make some sense out of the death, especially if it is sudden. A few things you can do; set up a fund to help other families in the local area, if the death was due to a disease, such as cancer, to keep the persons memory alive. Offer a scholarship in the memory of the person at a local school for them to use to help pay for college.
- Don’t isolate yourself. After everything has settled down, you may find yourself alone a lot. Make sure you or your loved one stays connected. The worst thing you can do is be home alone all the time. After the funeral, things will quiet down, there won’t be many people around, and the reality of the death will really hit home! Reach out to family, friends, your church, temple, or whatever religious or non religious organizations you belong to. Now is not the time to be alone. If you are not comfortable talking to family or friends, talk to a grief counselor, or join some new groups just to get out.
- Check on your friend or family member who experienced the loss. This sounds logical, but you would be surprised how after the funeral is over, people go back to their normal lives, not realizing the person who just suffered a terrible loss is still not back in a routine. You can do things, like drop by with a dinner (none feels like cooking after a loss), call them to see how they are doing, send a thoughtful card, help with their small kids (if they have them), invite them over for lunch or dinner. Invite them out to do something low key, like a light movie, or trip to the city, etc. whatever you know that they like to do. The bottom line here is not to forget about them, keep them busy.
- Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to losing their health after a spouse dies. It is very important to re-engage them into their life. Take turns visiting them, so they have frequent, but different people visiting. Grandchildren can really bring joy to them. Get them involved in a group with other widows or widowers, when the time is right, or just a seniors social group.
- Handling the particulars. When someone gets the tragic news about a sudden death or even a death that was expected due to illness, it is very hard to think straight. If possible appoint someone in the family or a close friend to make a list of everything that needs to be done. You will need to contact the funeral home, florist, caterer (if applicable), the employer, family that is not in the immediate area, life insurance company, make accommodations for out of town relatives/friends, etc., and much more. This is not the time for them to handle all this on their own, just the shock of the loss is too much for anyone to handle.
Hope this helped you, or someone you know and love. Loss is hard on everyone. If you want assistance or know someone who needs help, The Bidwell Group LLC offers Bereavement Services, click on this link for more infomation.