Death is a topic most of us tend to avoid—until we’re faced with times when we don’t have a choice. One of the people on our Carebook team shared some personal thoughts around the death of her father.
“Accompanying my father in his fight with cancer was a very difficult and beautiful privilege. That time served to bring us closer together. It also helped me to accept that he was going to go.
It was a time that was so unique. My father and I had to have very open exchanges—and there was nothing to hold back. He felt safe to share things with me. I was open to listening to what he needed to say. And we both knew it was our last opportunity for some things to be sorted out, and for some words to be shared. Together, we arranged the details for after he was gone. We talked about death, and shared our thoughts, fears and hopes. Being beside him for that time made me feel like I was at the right place, doing everything I could to support him on the last moments of his journey. There were no words kept silent, and no regrets. He left in peace, and our time together also left me with peace.
Despite the anger and the grief, I felt so lucky to have had the chance to be beside him every step. A lot of people don’t get to prepare like I did. Today, when I want to feel connected to my dad, I listen to some of the music he loved or I get lost contemplating beauties of nature. Often, I find myself having conversations with him in my head, in my heart —feeling connected.
Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, but the experience made me reflect on this inevitable end. What if, every day, we remembered the notion that death is inevitable? What if we really spent time with that thought? I wonder if we would choose to live our lives differently? Would we be more present, tolerant, grateful? Would we love more?”
Everyone experiences the loss of a loved one differently. Here are some ideas that might make coping a little easier:
Know that grieving is normal
Grief can be different for everyone, but all the feelings you might have—including intense feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and disbelief—are normal.
Give yourself time to mourn—however that looks
Mourning can look different for everyone. There are different religious, cultural, and personal beliefs that can influence how we process feelings and outwardly react. Give yourself the time and freedom to work through your grief.
Take care of your mind and body
It’s easy to forget to eat, or lose interest in everyday things when you’re experiencing pain. But don’t forget to take care of yourself during the process. Keep a healthy diet and don’t give up your exercise routine. If you need extra support, ask someone to help you with this.
Often, when people are grieving, they feel alone. But it’s good to reach out for help when really painful feelings surface. Sometimes, it helps to talk about how you’re feeling—or just have someone to be around for company.
How to cope with grief & loss
How to help support people with grief