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How To Deal with Sudden Death

Updated on September 19, 2015

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This is me with my two brothers and our youngest sister with a beige cap.
This is me with my two brothers and our youngest sister with a beige cap. | Source

How to deal with a sudden death

We all have deaths that happen in our own families whether it is caused by illness, tragedy, typhoons, wars or self inflicted deaths like suicide. It is hard to imagine how everyone feels losing someone they love in life. But natural deaths are easier to cope with than unnatural or sudden deaths like deaths that are caused by storms or typhoons, wars or even worse suicides. We hear about people being killed by landslides due to storms, people being killed by tsunamis and earthquakes, people being killed due to wars and so on. And these deaths are also sudden deaths that no family is prepared for them but has to be dealt with. Suicide is the worst thing I think when someone you love dearly takes their own life.

Let me tell you a story of my mother who took her own life which left me and the family devastated for life and how I dealt with it. I was the eldest in the family of six children, four boys and two girls. In my culture, if you are the eldest, you automatically assume responsibility when your mother dies or your father dies come to that. Two weeks before my mother committed suicide, I graduated as a midwife. My father and mother came to my graduation day and they were both very proud and happy that I have finished my two-year course midwifery and I will be able to get a job and will be able to help them in return. That was my plan. I was very happy that at least I can start earning money for a change instead of spending it for school fees. But due to my mother's sudden death, my happiness was short-lived. I began to worry about how would I cope doing what my mother use to do everything for us. But no time to worry, I just got on with it. It was hard work but I had to do it. Looking down at my innocent young siblings, my heart bled for them. I was not prepared for that situation at all. I had to forget all about my dreams and future plans because my family always come first in any situation. My father just got on as well with the day to day job to provide for us and drowned his sorrows in his work.







What happened next

My mother was always low in mood most of the time because she got asthma and she knew that she has to take asthma pills for life. She always said that, it would be better if she is dead because she thought she is a burden to the family especially my father who was our breadwinner at the time. I didn't take any notice of what she was saying because even though my father was only a miner, his wages were enough to support our needs. But I was wrong, I should have listened to my mother more when she mentioned about death. I thought at the time mother knows best and she won't do it but how wrong I was. She said it many times before but I never imagined she would actually do it. She drank the rat poison that they kept for the farm one evening when our father was at work, it was nighttime. My mother was taken to the nearest clinic but did not make it. The rat poison was so strong that it killed her quickly. I can't forget her last words as they were taking her to the hospital she said to me "Goodbye Linda, promise me you will look after your brothers and sister". I did not have any choice. My grandfather who was blind came up on the second floor of our house to say goodbye to his daughter before they took her to the clinic. We were all devastated.

How I coped after my mother's death

How I managed the following days and months that followed, I did not know. My father went back to work and I looked after everyone in the house, my blind grandfather, my younger brothers and three year old sister. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, cooked our meals, feed our animals like chickens, dogs and pigs, and even go to the farm to tend to my mothers sweet potatoes that she planted before she died, carrying my sister on my back. My brothers were attending primary school at the time so I had to prepare their packed lunches every morning. It was hard to be a mother and a sister to them as well. Somehow I managed to do what my mother used to do. That is why I did not have time to grieve over my mother's death. I was too busy looking after all my loved ones but I did it with all my love for my family. I still miss my mother but we have a loving step-mother who looks like our mother and she loves us all. They really look like twins but not identical. My father remarried after a few years had passed and she is a wonderful loving step-mother who loves us unconditionally.

Tips on how to deal with sudden death

We all deal with sudden deaths differently and this is how I dealt with my mother's sudden death.

  • Accept the situation and deal with it
  • Focus on what needs to be done now and what to do next
  • Accept that things will never be the same and some changes to be made
  • Change your future plan if needed
  • Be strong and help the young ones cope without having a mother
  • Be willing to accept help from other people when you can't handle everything
  • Be willing to sacrifice your career for your family
  • Learn to live and let go

What lessons I learnt from my mother's sudden death

I now understand what my mother was going thru when she killed herself. I think she was depressed but I did not know the meaning of depression in those days. I wish I could have saved her but there are things we only learn after something happens. I only understood the meaning of depression when I experienced it myself but because of what happen to my mother, I was determined to live and find ways to get out of depression. Also if I hear anyone saying they are depressed, they should be listened to. If we can't help them, maybe we can find others who can help.

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    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Dolores for visiting my hub and for your kind comments.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Not having time to grieve is not a good thing. I found myself in this situation 2 years ago. Helping out other people is so good for you, but grief is an important part of loss. It's bad enough to be crazy with grief, but being crazy with worry over another loved one is terrible. I don't know how I got through it. Having the support and love of other family and friends was very helpful.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Jack for reading my hub and for your kind comment Hope it helps others to cope when sudden death occurs.

    • Jack Hagan profile image

      Jack Hagan 2 years ago from New York

      Thank you so much and I think that the experience you shared here will be a guide for a lot of people. It can really provide them strength to cope with the unexpected death of their loved one.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      It happens to people like me and some people and it is not a very easy situation to be in. We all suffered because of what our mother had done, my only regret is I wish I could have prevented her from doing it.

    • monia saad profile image

      monia ben saad 2 years ago from In my Dream

      Thanks for this important subject , actually , all we see in a sudden death is terrified persons , which can cause diseases , heart attack and even more , that's why all of as should be cool when we hear such things , for many reasons , to evitate health problems and also to not influe other family members and make the situation bigger .

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Cynthia, I understand how your husband feels, sometimes it is better to keep busy and also for him to talk to you about how he feels because it does help. But some people just want to busy themselves to forget their grief. It is okay to feel sad sometimes, we are only human, we got feelings. But we all react differently to situations like death or illness.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      It is perfectly Ok to use my first name :). My fiance' does his best to cope and is always there for my son and I. I just know how hard it is on him. He spends a lot of time tinkering in the garage when he feels down. Since it was something they all did together.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      HI! Cynthia(hope it is okay to call you by your first name), first of all I thank you for reading my story and thank you for kind comments. I am sorry to hear about your fiancée's grandfather, stepfather and father passing away, too. It must be hard as you said you haven't got much family as well. I am the opposite, I have a big family and we support each other. I hope your husband will be strong for you and your son.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you for sharing your story and writing this article! I am voting up, amazing and beautiful. My fiances Grandfather took his life a few months ago and it has to be one of the hardest things he has ever suffored. His father was murdered when he was young, and his stepfather just died in the past few years as well. His Grandfather was by far his favorite living family member. He was a farmer and and a mechanic and we loved to go and talk to him. We always learned something. My fiancé has been devastated ever since the loss. Once of the hardest things is that our son will never get to know him, and we do not have much family at all.

      You are a very strong woman and you should have great pride in all that you took on upon your Mothers death.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Pennyforyourthots, thank you for your kind comment and fro reading my hub.

    • profile image

      Pennyforyourthots 2 years ago

      Wow, you are a very strong woman! Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was very touching and had some very good advice.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you CrisSp for your kind words. I just hope I can help others or give some hope for others who went through depression and sudden death like I did.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Depression hurts and hard to understand unless you're actually in the situation or have experienced the ordeal. I know how it feels...I've been there.

      I'm sorry to hear about the way you lose your mom. May God bless you for the sacrifices that you have done for your family.

      You're one very strong woman and I applaud you for that.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Denise, for your kind comment. There are times that it gets me down, I just kept thinking positive all the time.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Sudden death is traumatic, especially when someone in our immediately family takes their own life. It changes our world dramatically. You are a strong person to have picked up and kept your family going in spite of this difficulty! Your example is a great source of strength to your loved ones.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Maureen, I think I find writing makes me express what I have been keeping in my mind for very long time. Now it is all coming out. Let us hope others can benefit from it too. I like your hubs too, Maureen. You write very good travel hubs which is very interesting.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      You made the right decision to write this and I hope it gets the attention it deserves. It couldn't have been easy to write. I've enjoyed all your hubs Linda - keep 'em coming. Cheers Maureen

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi! Maureen, first of all, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It took me a while before I made the decision to write about this very personal experience of mine as I know one of the policies for writing here is not to write about personal topics but I thought it might help others who had the same experience like mine. If I save even just one life then that would be nice. My midwifery did not get used but no regrets. I still found other ways of earning an income to help support my family. Thank you for always commenting on my hubs from the beginning.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Linda, you wrote this with such honesty, from the heart, so touching and emotional. How sad to lose your lovely mother so suddenly, in such a devastating way.

      Sorry to learn your career plans didn't eventuate after all your hard work. However, you did a wonderful job caring for your family. Tough times need extra special people, many of us couldn't cope.

      Yes, depression is difficult to understand and come to terms with. Your advice to seek help for ourselves or others is a must. Sometimes though, we just can't come to terms with it.

      Thank you for writing this Linda - thinking of you - Maureen aka Maj

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you once again Ann for your kind comment and the support. Yes, I still feel sad about it at times but it helped me grow up so quick and know how to empathize with people who suffer the same tragedy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I thought that if we angled it correctly, as you have done, then anyone can write about this sort of thing on HP. It's personal, yes, but it's advice, a 'How To' hub which HP seems to favour above everything.

      It was still brave to expose yourself to what must still be raw emotions.

      Ann

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you LongTimeMother for your kind comment, it was hard at the time coping with everything but we managed and we all have moved on from it. It affected my whole life that I never got to practice my midwifery but on the other hand, I made sure that my younger siblings have a good future. I went and worked abroad as a nanny and sent money home for their school tuition fees and their other needs like food. Thank you once again LongTimeMother.

    • liesl5858 profile image
      Author

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my hub, Ann. It took me a while to write this as we are not supposed to write about personal stuff like this but if it saves someone's life then it would be good. I took a chance.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      A poignant story and a strong, helpful message. You are one in a million to have done such a thing. Many say that when they have to, they just get on with it. They do say that at some stage there must be a grieving process though.

      It takes courage to write about such things but sharing this might save someone's life and would be an invaluable support to anyone dealing with such a situation.

      Ann

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

      Oh, you wonderful woman. It must have been very difficult to put your dreams on hold and take responsibility for your family.

      Did you get a chance to work as a midwife?