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How to live after losing a loved one

Updated on May 6, 2016

The days following loss.

The days after losing a loved one are not only emotional, they are filled with appointments with different people, family members, the funeral home director, florist etc. You are on the phone what seems to be non-stop, making sure that family and friends are notified of the passing. Insurance companies must be contacted. Once you have made arrangements for internment or cremation, you are given death certificates. Many insurance companies will call the funeral home to verify passing, which saves you a call. But in some cases different companies require a death certificate in order to cut the insurance check, or cease services in the home, such as the electric, water, cable, phone etc. With all that you have to take care of, this can seem quite overwhelming. I know I was at a loss. Thankfully, my Dad had made arrangements with the funeral home, and they notified all the insurance companies. I then took care of the household things that had to be closed out.

There is something that I need to share. If your loved one dies without a will. You have to contact the state in which the deceased lived. Then you have to ask for a estate without probate. This is usually the case when the deceased has grown children, no property as such ( such as real estate etc) You will then have to get a Tax ID number. this is so you can close out any bank accounts. You will then have to open a Estate account, this is done so that any money that is being refunded to the deceased has an account to do just this. Remember if your loved one is retired and collect Social Security benefits, The Government will withdraw the Social Security for that month. ( Nice huh?) If they have a pension, they may be recalled as well. Just be sure to not close any account for at least a month, so it doesn't come out of any of your own money.

Insurance checks for the deceased are normally made out to a beneficiary, if the deceased doesn't have a beneficiary, the check is made out to the Estate of ___ and then deposited into this account.

When it comes to dividing assets such as items, money what have you. Please make sure you sit with your loved ones. Share with them what and who you want specific things to go to. Without a will, people get greedy. I can tell you from experience, the " things" are just that, " things" they are not worth losing a family member because they didn't get the picture frame that they say they were promised. In my case, my Dad actually sat with us and told us what he wanted done. He even had a letter of intent. This didn't matter. When you argue over things, all you are doing is dishonoring those who have passed. I would gladly give everything to have my Dad and Mom back, and to have a relationship with my brother again. Just remember we can't take material things with us when we go. There is no use for them. They are " THINGS". Things can be replaced, people can't. Life is too short to not have family speaking to one another.

Memorials and Celebrations

One of the greatest things you can do to honor the memory of someone is to have a memorial service or celebration of life. These can be special programs you have at your church or even have a special run ( like cancer runs in someones name) These programs will bring people together to allow them to share memories or to raise monies for special organizations. These are easy to get going. You can notify friends and family on social media websites, call or even put up fliers. When my Mom passed we had a special Memorial service for her. We held it at our church and she had many friends who showed up. We sang, shared memories and enjoyed a great spread of food afterward. I made all the arrangements, from the programs to the food and flowers. I arranged the flowers myself. My Dad spoke to everyone and thanked them for coming and he got quite emotional. It was a very touching moment. This summer, I plan to have a Memorial for both my parents. I have chosen the date of June 11 as they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I have planted a Memorial garden and plan to spread their combined ashes around their garden. I have made a invitation on Facebook and am hoping for several of their friends to come to my new home.

Celebrations are an excellent way to have closure. The hurt never really goes away, but it is a way to share the feelings you have had and to talk to those who you may not have spoken to in some time. Friends want to know how you are, what you have been doing and if you need anything. Friends are like that. Good friends stick with you through thick and thin. If you have even one friend like this, you are blessed.

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How have you dealt with the loss of a loved one?

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Seeking answers

There may come a time long after the passing of a loved one that you have questions as to why. Why did my loved one have to die? Did I do enough or too little to help them? What if I could do it all over again? Would you do things differently? We all ask these questions. We all wonder what if. It is all very natural to have these questions. Don't despair. You will find the answers, maybe not to the exact questions, but it will come to you. We are all destined to a particular path in life. What we do with this life is up to us. We are put on this earth to help one another, don't feel like you are strange for feeling the way you do. You have nothing to apologize for. Your pain will decrease in time. Your heart may heal in time. I know your heart is broken, and the mere mention of your loved ones name not only brings back memories but also the tears. It is okay to cry. Let those tears fall. You are allowed to cry, to feel empty, to mourn. Everyone mourns in their own time. There is not a set time frame for your feelings. You take as long as you need. There will always be someone to listen to you, to comfort you, and to guide you if needed. We are in this world together, and if we help one another, what a wonderful place this would be.

Tips on dealing with loss

My hope for you is that you continue through life, enjoying the future and that your pain decreases somewhat. You may never get over your loss, and you may continue to ask why. We don't have the answers, but if you believe in a higher being, such as I do, you know that the questions will be answered at that point. My greatest wish is that you can share your memories with others. Offer your experience to those who will encounter what you have. And somehow you will be able to continue your path in life. You can always contact me, and we can help one another get through the hard parts of this experience. Together we can help one another, by making your thoughts heard and your feelings shared.

1) Remember you aren't alone. Everyone at one point will experience a loss in their life

2) Share your feelings with your family and friends. Sharing helps the pain pass a bit quicker

3) Make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Talk to your family. Advise them as to what you want done at the end of your days. Draw up a will. If you can prepare for the last days. Contact your local funeral home, get your affairs in order. This will help the surviving members of your family in dealing with your wishes.

4) Don't argue or fight over " things" they are just things. They can be replaced. You are an important part of this world. Share your ideas, write down your wishes so everyone knows what you want to be said, and handles your belongings the way you would like them distributed.

5) Above all else, take care of you. It is okay to cry, to shout, to feel like crap. Let no one tell you that there is a time frame for your grief. You take as long as is needed. And always look inside yourself for strength. You are stronger than you know. I have faith in you. You can get through this.


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      Erin MacCarthy 19 months ago from Casco Maine

      What you are doing is fantastic! You seem to be dealing very well. It is important to help others through the process of loss, and you creation of a memory book is wonderful. This will indeed bring back memories that each family member shared at one time or another, and it will help with closure. We never really get over the loss of a loved one. They say time heals old wounds, but I am afraid, we never really get over the loss. I can see by your note that you had a great relationship with your father-in-law. Special relationships are very important and you are doing everything right as per your note. Good luck with the outcome.

      All my blessings to you and yours. Please accept my condolences as well.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      My father-in-law passed away just over three months ago. It was a difficult time for all of our family. As I have gone through his affects, I am collecting pictures of him and his wife (she passed away two years ago), and am giving them to family members. I am also creating a memorial book with the cards and pictures that are close to our family. It helps to work through my grief as I create a physical remembrance of these wonderful people.