How Do You Cope With the Loss of Loved Ones?

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Whenever you lose some one really close to you, there is an emotional disruption to your system. This may manifest as a full grieving period or intermittent periods of wondering thoughts.

First you wonder how your friend or loved one died. You wonder whether more could have been done to save his or her life. If you have not seen or spoken to them in a while, you may even feel guilty that you had not done more to be in touch. The truth though is that both of you were busy struggling with life and hoping to see each other some time in the future.

Unfortunately even realizing this will not make the loss of a loved one or a friend easier to deal with. However, we all need to remember that coping with the loss of loved ones is part of the emotional challenges we have to deal with in life. Our relationship with the dead is part of our relationship with the living.

This is because the dead of our loved ones, remind all of us that life is transient. We have to learn to stop taking life for granted. In old African saying states that life is like going to the market (shopping mall), after you buy what took you to the market (mall), you have to leave.

The problem for most of us is that we cannot seem to find or agree on when is the right time to leave. One of the first questions we ask as we attempt to deal with the loss of loved ones is, “Why now?”. The more closely connected we are to the departed, the more fervently we ask the question.

We usually wish they had lived longer, sot hat a number of out standing things in our minds could have been accomplished. One of the prominent things we wish for is that we spent more time together. The fact of the matter is that for the most part, most of us were doing the best we could to cope with school, work or family. We were trying our best to live in the moment. We did not plan or set out not to see our friends or loved ones before they died.

The other aspect of losing a close friend, a lover or spouse is that death takes away from us the very person with whom we shared the most important moments of our lives. This can be very devastating because it means we have to find ab new way to go on. This is difficult, because it is like trying to learn to walk again after a stroke or an accident. It is hard, but it can be done. We can at least try to do the best we can one day at a time.

None of us chose our date or time of birth and it should come as no surprise that most of us will not be able to choose our own time of death or that of our friends or loved ones. However, we can all chose how we react to the death of loved ones. One of the ways to do this is to remind ourselves that time and manner of death of our loved ones is part of their legacy of life.

For people of faith, it is consoling to remember the prayer, “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away”. After what is life but a gift. we can chose to use the death of our loved ones as a teachable moment and re-evaluate our own lives and find more ways to build more positive memories for ourselves and our loved ones. After all, life is transient.