Coping with the loss of a loved one

Personal tips from a survivor

Loss and grief can strike out of the blue, but you have the power to decide how you cope.

Photo illustration by Carey Torres

Loss and grief can strike out of the blue, but you have the power to decide how you cope.

Carey Torres, Lifestyles Editor/Cartoonist

It’s always very sad when someone you know and love is here one day, and then gone the next. You wonder to yourself, “How could this have happened?” or “Why them of all people?”

These questions are never easy to answer, but they come up without warning during random moments of the day. Even when you weren’t thinking about that person at that particular time, the thought was waiting to emerge from the back of your mind, because you cared for them so much. As much as you wish that it didn’t happen, it did, and you have to come to terms with it, but that won’t happen overnight. It takes time to heal.

When it comes to grieving, nobody is the same; we all deal with losses in our own way. There is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with your closest friends and family because they can help you cope with the loss in a healthy way. Even though it’s hard, it helps to talk about it with those in your life who care about you. When and if you choose to talk about the person who passed, talk about the happy times you had with them. Remembering those times will cheer you up when you’re feeling down.

Bottling up how you’re feeling does not help; it’s always good to relieve yourself of that stress. Another way to help you heal is to make a scrapbook of their life. Gather up all of your favorite pictures of them and create something that will mean a lot to you. When you miss them, just pull out the scrapbook and smile at all of the wonderful experiences you shared with that person. This is just one of many ways to honor their memory.

You can take other people’s advice in order to help you cope. However, the best way to deal with a loss is on your own personal terms. You are the only person who knows what the best way for you to heal is. There are so many emotions that come along during the grieving process and it’s going to be a long time before you are yourself again. Also, never forget that you are not alone. There are people who are dealing with the same thing as you.

I know that you’re probably thinking that I don’t understand and have never gone through something such as this, but I have. This past November I lost my oldest brother to cancer. He had been battling it since the summer and we all thought that he was going to get better. Whenever I had a chance I would go and visit him in the hospital, he was bed ridden throughout the entire time until his passing. It honestly broke my heart to see him in that condition, because he had been so full of life and used to have all kinds of energy. I knew that I had to be strong for his sake, I refused to look upset in front of him and it killed me because all I wanted to do was cry.

His passing was a shock; it was and still is hard to accept. However I manage to get through my day to day life. What has helped me personally to cope is talking about all the good times I had with my brother, rather than the more recent sad times. Also, looking at pictures helps too, because at least I am able to remember him and everything I loved about him. The one thing that has helped me most of all was all of the support I received from my family and friends. It really meant a lot to know that they were there for me if I needed someone to talk to. Honestly though, with all that comes with a loss, the best thing you can possibly do is to just try to stay strong and keep holding on.