by Samantha Moore
The loss of someone close to you is one of the most difficult things a person must live through. People avoid talking about it as it hits so close to home and is certainly not pleasant, and why focus on something that makes you unhappy, right?
When people die, those left behind become very aware of their faults and failings. I could have done better is one of the most common. Perhaps you could have done better, perhaps you could have called them more or asked how they were feeling every day, but if you didn’t that’s not a bad thing. It is only with the benefit (or curse) of hindsight that we feel regret.
We all wish we’d done more.
The devastation death brings to the lives of those left behind is unimaginable. It leaves us heartbroken and unsure how to react, unsure what to do with ourselves. Some find comfort in their work, others in their family and friends, some prefer to be left alone and others become self-destructive.
Upon losing someone, the last thing an individual should do is repress their grief. Allow yourself some time to express all your emotions, however varied they may be, in a safe, private space before comforting others or returning to your ordinary, daily life. Whatever emotions you may be feeling, however strange and excessive they may seem, are natural and deserved to be expressed to ensure you don’t suffer any serious after-effects through repressed thoughts and self-blame.
Grief is a natural part of a person’s life, and worrying about others perceptions or wellbeing at a time when you are an emotional wreck is a sure way to neglect your own feelings. That is not to say that you shouldn’t comfort others, but when a death occurs some time alone leads to a greater understanding of the big picture while allowing all your feelings to burst out.
There is no set way in which people deal with loss, although the world would perhaps be easier to understand if there were. A person’s upbringing may effect how they react to such tragic events: someone who grew up basking in attention is far more likely to let loose and turn into a sobbing mess then someone who stayed in the background, avoiding attention. How a person deals with loss is subject to their own emotions and relationship with the deceased, and if the connection was real then the reaction, no matter how extreme or uncaring it may seem, will be genuine.
In many households discussing death is considered somewhat taboo subject, which should not be the case. Better communication surrounding death is needed so that individuals can have an improved understanding of their range of emotions at that time. When people die we often feel a strange array of feelings, some of which seem to have no correlation to the tragedy that has just occurred. If people better understood that these seemingly pointless emotions, such as confusion and irritability, did indeed arise as a result of their grief, then perhaps there would be less frustration pushed towards those who aren’t grieving the same way (e.g. weeping) as others.
In the end, there seem to be only two comforting thoughts that hold true after every death: they aren’t in pain anymore, and they’re with [previously deceased loved ones] now. It may only help a little, but realising the truth of these two phrases may be the best private comforters you can have.
Death is the most unavoidable fact of life, and the benefits of greater emotional communication and understanding in relation to it cannot be neglected.