- Death & Loss of Life
How To Recover From The Death Of A Loved One
There isn't any specific answer or remedy to this question, we all deal with the loss of loved ones in our own way. How someone reacts, how they grieve also relates to who the person was that passed away. I believe that we relate to each loss on different levels. A person who loses a parent grieves and reacts dissimilar to a parent who's lost a child, that of an individual who loses a spouse, a brother, sister, aunt , uncle cousin or best friend.
We all feel the loss of those who have passed before us, I will share my experiences and those of my children to give examples of how we coped, methods we used to keep their memories alive and begin the healing process. Other factors that play into how we recover depend on how or when the person died. I've dealt with sudden loss, a prolonged deaths caused by cancer and know of those who's loved ones lives that were cut short by violence. These are key elements in when and how the healing process begins.
My daughter was had turned 5 years old just 5 days prior to her father's accident. We were all devastated and felt empty inside. He was only 34 yrs old and this was completely unexpected. They were able to sustain his life for a few more days of which gave everyone a chance to say their good-byes. I myself didn't say goodbye yet, said see you later. I knew and know that one day I will see him again. His family and I choose to donate his organs so that another family's possible heartache would be changed to happiness instead. When it came to explaining to my daughter I brought her a binder that had slots in front for pictures. We placed a few of her favorite, some of which had just been taken at her Birthday Party, one in particular was Daddy wearing her Birthday tiara. We slid a piece of paper inside the front of the binder that stated, Letters of Love, Memories to Share. Inside I placed two 1 subject note books and asked everyone to either write a letter or share a memory. I wanted this so that our daughter who's memory would fade as years passed could reflect back on these letters and memories to give her impressions of who her dad was, share in the silly moments, the happy and sad moments.
I also wanted her to know that his biggest achievement in his eyes was loving his baby girl more than anything in his life, she was his miracle. On special days such as his Birthday, Christmas and Father's Day she would create special cards for him and place them in the binder. We would also bring flowers and guardian angel statues to the cemetery. At a point in time that she decided she needed to grieve in her own way and we both decided that we didn't need to go to the cemetery, we could find other ways to honor his memory. To me, one of the hardest parts in all this is the mild stones in her life that her Dad will miss in person yet I know that he is here with us in spirit. It will be 14 years this coming July and our tears have subsided we haven't forgotten, and neither will you. The pain will lesson a little at a time yet, you will always remember the ones you've lost. I revel in the memories you created, how you loved, lost, lived and shared in each others lives. Whenever I heard Garth Brooks song " The Dance" it brings me back to when he initially passed away and through the sadness I knew that if I had a choice to either sit this out or dance, I am glad that we shared the dance of life and love.
My niece Stacy was killed in a car accident just two weeks before she was to enter her freshmen year in college. Yet again our family was devastated and in complete shock. This was just two years after Marty's passing and some of us were still dealing with his loss. We all rallied together to be there for her mom, brother, sister, grandmother, aunts , uncles, friends, and more. Stacy was a unique young lady and touched so many lives, thought such amazing lessons in your short life and I know there are quite a few people whose lives were better for knowing her. One of the ways everyone has chosen to begin the healing process is through the internet. Quite a few newspapers now have on line guest books that are available for s short time so others can offer words of encouragement, sympathies and prayers to the family.
The guest book is left one line for a short period or, if you choose for a fee it can be left up for a specific period of time and if you wish, can be kept there permanently. This has been such a blessing for the family and friends. You can go on the site and leave messages, write letters to Stacy, add poems, basically whatever you wish. Her little sister Taylor was 2 yrs old when Stacy passed and this guest book is a life line for her. She talks to her big sister all the time and been a blessing for her. Stacy was a cheerleader, won quite a few awards and had received a full boat scholarship for college. She was in fact, on her way home from being an instructor's assistant at cheer leading camp the night of her accident. In honor of her memory her mom, several family and friends created a scholarship fund in her name and they give out scholarships to high schools in the surrounding area every year. We have fundraisers to keep the fund alive and one happens to be a cheer leading competition. This has been a tremendous success and helped many, especially her mom, brother and sister with the healing process.
Those are two examples of how our family has begun the healing process. There are others stories I could share but I don't want to overwhelm anyone. For those who have lost loved ones and are trying to find ways to help heal your broken hearts think about that person, hold their memories dear, and think of what they loved, what was important to them in their lives. If they loved being around family, have a few get in honor of dinners, laugh, love and share your memories. If the person was an avid reader, donate books in their memory to local schools. If they liked to volunteer start a Toys for Tots fundraiser in their honor or volunteer at a soup kitchen. My sister passed away from Leukemia so I make donations to Children's Floating in Boston and to St. Jude's Hospital for her Birthday and Christmas. These may seem like little things yet you'll be amazed at how good they will make you feel.