Dealing with Death

Posted on April 7, 2011

The death of a loved one can be one of the most horrifying and tragic events in a person’s life, especially when the death is sudden or unexpected.  Many times we’re left with confusing thoughts about the death such as, “why him,” “was there a reason,” and “this person was too young to die.”  I wish I could say that those questions disappear over time, but they rarely do.  They do, however, get easier to ask.  Below you will find helpful tips for coping with death and slowing working through the process of grief.

1.  Allow yourself time.

Time to think, time to ask questions, and time to experience shock or anger toward the death.  It’s completely normal to feel angry, overwhelmed, sad, numb, or confused after a death occurs.  Many times guilt tries to work its way into our experience by telling us it’s not okay to feel angry or sad about the death.  Try to keep guilt away and allow yourself to truly experience your emotions.

2. Let others help.

Letting our guard down and being vulnerable with others is one of the most difficult things for humans to do.  It’s scary, but it’s also incredibly helpful.  Allow others to care for you by making you dinner or watching your kids.  I know that distractions (like housework or taking care of children) can be helpful because it blocks our awareness and attention to the grief, but over time you’ll be thankful that you let others help and had time for yourself.

3.  Listen

Listening to others who have recently lost a family member or friend is one of the best ways to help them cope with the loss.  Refrain from using phrases like “He’s in a better place,” or “God must have a reason,” immediately after a death, because most people won’t agree with your encouraging words.  Stay silent and simply be in the presence of your friend or family member that’s grieving.  Your presence is comfort enough.

If you have recently experienced a loss, try using these tips or ask those around you to consider using them to help you through this difficult time.  Grieving is an ongoing process, so be patient with yourself as you experience the grief.  If you notice that you are still experiencing great grief and pain months after the death, please consider speaking with a counselor that can help you through the grieving process.

By: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a Marriage and Family Therapy Resident at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are grief and loss, parent/child relationships, and pregnancy related struggles.  If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie may be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==