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Surviving the Sudden Death of a Loved One

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Losing someone you love is one of the most devastating and emotionally draining events in a person’s life. Many times, these deaths are the result of illness or of natural causes such as old age. But sometimes the death is sudden and unexpected and causes even more devastation. In either case, grief can be crippling, and you feel completely overwhelmed. Losing a loved one will leave you feeling as if a piece of you has been taken away, and you may think you will never recover. Normal day-to-day activities require much more energy when you're grieving, however, dealing with the pain effectively can help you pick up the pieces that are left so that you can continue to live.

As impossible as it may seem, there are some things you can do to help your grieving process:

1. Surround yourself with support. Initially, you may want to be left alone with your thoughts and you need that time to wrap your mind around the reality of your loss. Those feelings are completely normal and expected. Eventually, though, isolating yourself can be unhelpful to your recovery and can do more harm than good to your mental and emotional well-being.

· Accept the support of others. Sure, people may sometimes say the wrong thing, and that’s usually because they don’t know what to say to soothe you. But most of them sincerely want to help you through. Seek companionship and be open about your feelings. When people offer to bring you a meal or spend an evening with you, accept it. Even if you don’t feel like talking let them sit in silence with you, everyone needs support through difficult times.

2. Keep it real. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and accept your feelings. There's no right or wrong way to feel when you're mourning, and there is no time limit on grieving. Part of the healing process involves you allowing your emotions, however intense, to come out freely. Get angry and shout if you need to, cry if you need to, just get it out.

3. Express yourself. Feel free to talk about your loss with your support network. If you're not ready to talk about your feelings face to face, start a journal, join a support group, there are even social media platforms to join people with similar experiences.

4. Take care of yourself. Stay as true to your daily routine as you can. Regular exercise and good nutrition contribute to your overall emotional health. Go above and beyond your normal nurturing routine and treat yourself to a relaxing massage, a walk in nature, time with friends, or just quiet time to speak to your Creator.

5. Take it one day at a time. When you're faced with death, all you may see is a blank wall in front of you. Looking beyond the event and imagining life without your loved one may seem impossible extremely challenging, and the pain will cloud your view.

· Life will never be the same for you, and no one wants to hear that it will take time, but it’s true. You must learn to adjust to living with the absence, or you could spiral down a tunnel of darkness and depression. However, there’s a brighter picture hiding behind that wall and one day, although the pain does not leave, it will be a bit more bearable, and you’ll eventually be able to see it.

Be realistic in your own expectations regarding your progress, and never let anyone tell you how or how long you should grieve your loss. Grieving takes time and energy. Pace yourself: set small goals and celebrate milestones. There will be challenges when holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays roll around. Certain songs or events may spark memories of the times you shared with the one you loved so dearly but continue on your journey to recovery.

Life After the Death of a Loved one

It's common for people who survive a loved one to feel guilty about living and beginning to find joy in their lives again. You may ask yourself, "How dare I enjoy life without my child, without my parent, without my spouse?” But in reality, you're not betraying your loved one by living, as a matter of fact, the best way we can honor those who have passed away is by living our lives to the fullest and celebrating and honoring their life and the time that you had with them.

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional overwhelm, or are having difficulty coping with the death of a loved one, seek the treatment that is right for you. If you need resources and support, you can reach out to local agencies in your area that offers mental health assistance and treatment.


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About Angela M Mitchell

Angela is a Certified Master Life & Personal Development Coach, a mental health advocate, founder of Back To Her, and a Co-Author in the international best-selling collaborative masterpiece The Image in The Mirror. She assists women entrepreneurs who are experiencing emotional overwhelm to acknowledge their struggles, change the narrative, and rewrite their life stories so that they can become deliberate, not desperate creators of their life's story. Angela resides in Buffalo, NY and is the mother of three and grandmother of two.

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