How to Cope with Sudden Death and Loss

dealing with loss

Coming to terms with bereavement is no easy ordeal. It is even more difficult to come to terms with when dealing with death that is sudden, violent, or traumatic in nature. For instance, many people suffer from grief brought about by wrongful death, where an attorney should be involved. In cases like this, those dealing with loss become so overwhelmed with emotion that they have no time to deal with such, much less look for an attorney available in Long Beach.

The Common Signs of Grief

The stages of grieving aren’t explicit, as each of us deals with loss in our own ways. In fact, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of the book called On Death and Dying, postulates that the five stages of grief that we know of were merely developed as an initial coping mechanism model for dying patients, helping them come to terms with death and bereavement. Gradually, this model evolved into the stages of grief for survivors. Here are the most common signs of mourning:

  • Disbelief and shock. The initial reaction to loss is disbelief and shock, often characterized by the feeling and phrases such as: “It cannot be true!”
  • Sadness. This comes with acceptance, and with the acceptance of truth comes a profound sense of sorrow and despondency.
  • Anger. This is the stage where a person may feel angry at the person who isn’t there anymore. People also turn to blame another higher being, such as God, and everyday injustices.
  • Guilt. This stage will leave a person feeling guilty for having survived. If they are a parent, they may feel guilty for outliving their child. A person may also feel guilty for the things left unsaid and undone.

How to Help Someone Dealing with Sudden Death and Loss

helping a friend deal with loss

  • Even if you’re unaware of what to do or say, approach them and say something as simple as: “I’m sorry to hear what has happened.” After this, wait for them to engage. Never push them into talking about it, as this can cause more harm than good. You can also opt to send them a message instead, or perhaps hand them a card. Understand that nothing can make the situation any better, and it’s about you being there to listen when they need it.
  • You will feel helpless around the person, which is a perfectly normal reaction. Keep in mind that nothing you ever do can “fix” things, so sit with your discomfort. Your support is all that they could ever need.
  • Don’t attempt to understand or know what the person is going through. You can’t and never will, even if you have suffered from a loss yourself. What they are experiencing is different. Everyone deals with trauma in their own way, and their healing will come at their own time.
  • Never try to tell the person what to think or do. This applies mostly to your own religious or spiritual beliefs, as doing so can aggravate situations further. Do something practical to help instead. Help prepare food at the kitchen table, or stock up their freezer with easy-to-cook meals. It is also worth remembering to never take offense when your help is refused. Just be there when they’re ready to reach out.
  • Know that the possibility of the person changing is real. Be sensitive enough to understand that their life will never be the same; don’t expect them to fully “move on.” While they may learn to cope, total healing could take years, and some people never heal at all.
  • Finally, and most importantly, hearing the news of a sudden or violent death can greatly affect anyone, including you. If this has triggered something in you, and you’re having a difficult time, consider seeking help.

The pain of loss will seem insurmountable, and with it come feelings of guilt, anger, and other emotions that can totally overwhelm a person. Understanding grief better and learning ways to care for someone who is grieving is essential. We are all human beings, and the prospect of coping with death is inevitable. It’s best to always be prepared.

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