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How Do You Handle the Death of a Loved One?

Updated on August 19, 2018
heather92383 profile image

Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 12 years.

Grief. What is it and what does it mean to you personally? According to the dictionary, it's a feeling of very deep loss over the death of a loved one. It's an emotion that tends to consume everything around them and their daily lives. They can't function anymore and could lead to some destructive habits if they weren't too careful.

Of course, there is no right way to deal with the loss of someone you loved. Some people get consumed by the experience, while others avoid dealing with it. This denial can lead to turning to something or someone who you should avoid. An emotional crutch of sorts that could be more harmful than good. How do you deal with the death of a loved one? Do you wallow in your grief, or move on once the time is right? Think very carefully before you answer, because it might not be the one that you do if it does ever truly happen.

Here are a few suggestions that you can try when learning how to deal with a tragic loss. Remember that someone else's way of dealing with a similar scenario might not work for you. Try anything reasonable in moderation until you find out with truly works for you in coping with the loss of a family member or a loved one.

Confronting the Truth

Never hide your feelings from the world- It can only lead to more trouble down the line. When it comes to death, I've never been able to handle it. I've lost one relative when I was younger and one as an adult. I also came close to another after a cancer diagnosis but it was an early diagnosis that saved their life. Thankfully, that person can still live their day-to-day life knowing they're lucky enough to have those days. The emotional clich├ęs of grief were always lost on me because I never behaved the way I was supposed to. I hid behind my feelings instead of accepting them and trying to learn how to live without that person.

Learning to Love and Moving On

Love is the greatest feeling- When it comes to love and affection, it's a many splendored thing as Hollywood once deemed it to the moviegoing public. The feeling allowed many to open up their hearts and explored their senses in a way they never thought possible. Does the feeling always last? Not always. Can it sometimes end with a major loss and a long term case of grief? Yes, but it's best to not get discouraged. That person wouldn't want you to live your life in an ivory tower and never experienced sunlight again. They would want you to live your life to the fullest, even if that included moving on in your own way. Either with someone new; or on your own path to self discovery.

Empathy is important, but it doesn't make the grief go away.- Love was a feeling I never gave away lightly to anyone, especially potential suitors. I always hide my heart as a way to protect myself from getting burned or suffering from losing them in any life altering capacity. I have watched certain family members fall apart as their spouses wither into nothing from illnesses or natural causes. I have tried to sympathsize with them and offer my support, but I always felt it wasn't enough. My personal experience in the matter is non-existent, but I always figured it's better to try than ignore their grief. I'd like to think I'm helping and I'll continue to do so until the day someone tells me to stop.

Going to the Next Step

Sympathy for Others was a good quality to have- Understanding loss was a very good tool to help overcome any feelings of grief and often allowed you to help others in even more dire situations get on their feet. Sometimes, it's good to talk to a professional to learn the best tools to coping with grief in the long run, because no one should have to suffer in silence. That could lead to some long term trouble down the line if they weren't too careful. It's always to deal with everything that's troubling you head on rather than avoiding it to circumvent dealing with the pain. Denying yourself the time to feel sad is never a good thing and even made you feel guilty later on.

Ultimately, my heart always grieved for people dealing with the loss of loved ones because they shouldn't have to suffer in such a capacity, but it's a part of life. You have to deal with the good and bad aspects of life. Take them with you as you make plans with your husband, wife, sibling or best friend. Realize that life should be lived like you're a race car driver speeding toward the finish of the Indy 500 with your tires on fire. Ignore the impulse to cool them off and picture passing through the line knowing you did everything you could to pass. Never sacrifice time with someone for a pointless material item such as jewel trinkets or an unnecessary job promotion. Focus on the good things in your relationship instead of the things you don't have. As the saying goes, it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

In the end, I've never actually dealt with the loss of a loved one such as a spouse or a best friend just yet. I've seen two different cases of a woman who lost a husband that handled it in different ways. One woman was able to carry on and developed a very independent nature that didn't need a man to bolster her spirits. She was able to have an active social life and continued to be an active part in her family's life. Another woman simply folded after the death of her husband and developed a dependency to alcohol. She cannot hold a job anymore and just couldn't function anymore in the world.

I'm learning how to deal with death from those firsthand and indirect approaches, but it's still a trial and error process depending on each instance. Just live every moment like it's the last, with a degree of caution, and you should be fine.

What do you want on your tombstone?
What do you want on your tombstone?


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    • Usamasahi786 profile image


      2 years ago

      So sad

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Well you know the old saying "it is better to have loved and lost than never at all"

      I have lost both parents , 2 friends and numerous relatives. What i have learned is I have to just let myself grief and cry when i feel it coming on...its a process like anything else and if i try to hold it in ,its like choking my self. You were right most people dont know what to say...but that really dosent mater...just being there is the greatest statement.   I have been hurt many times growing and the only person  i truly trust is God and my wife and that realtionship was a long time in the making and if she goes out of here first ..I will cry deeply tears of joy and saddness, because we will both have trully lived and been present with each other.

      Great Hub mike ;0)


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