Article by Lianna Champ
Unless people die young themselves, nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, something they need or something they thought was meant to be.
When a death occurs suddenly and cuts across life in its fullness, our minds shift back and forth from reality to disbelief, stuck in the trauma. We are numbed and time seems to stand still. It may feel as if we have entered a new and very different world and that nothing will be the same again. Our last conversation with the person we have lost may have been rushed. This can leave us stuck in a loop, wanting to turn back time and say the things we should have said, before we can even begin to think about processing the pain of our loss.
Some of us get stuck, unsure of whether we are coping or whether what we are doing is right or wrong as we fumble for things to cling on to in order to get through yet another day. We may not even be consciously aware of what will serve our needs in the long term. So it is valuable for our recovery to recognise if we have created negative coping mechanisms to block out or reduce our painful feelings. some signs include – alcohol; unhealthy food; smoking more starting again after giving up.
So what should we do?
First, we need to learn the life-enhancing lesson of positive communication in all our interactions, so if there is a sudden loss or parting your last moment together will have been loving. Many people do find positive and constructive ways to reconcile their grief and move forward, discovering a greater capacity for living a more enriching and satisfying life in the process.
Losing someone in our lives suddenly can give us an understanding of the value of each day and the miraculous gift of life. We see how fragile and vulnerable we all are in the grand scheme of things. The sadness of a sudden loss mingles with sadness for the hopes, dreams and possibilities that will now not be realised. But people do not die for us immediately, and they continue to occupy our thoughts just as they did when they were alive, before we come to accept their physical absence.
A suicide can leave behind a particularly devastating kaleidoscope of pain. As hard as it is, we have to accept the choices of others. That we can be left with no answers and a huge ‘why?’ can leave us feeling shame and guilt at not seeing the signs. The truth is that often there are no signs. We all see the world differently.
In every painful experience, I believe we have to find the opportunity for growth. Any loss will always be a part of your life. If you broke a limb you would seek medical help.
It is the same for a broken heart. It isn’t time that heals; it’s what you do over time that brings the healing.
Although we can’t always control how or when we die, we can control how we live. By making good and correct choices we can live in such a way that if or when our lives are impacted by a sudden and traumatic loss, we are working from a stronger position to absorb the shock and find a sense of balance. We can also learn to be more aware of what is happening around us, so that if something looks unusual or out of the ordinary we can act accordingly.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in bereavement and grief recovery. Her new book How to How to Grieve Like a Champ is out 07 June 2018, priced £9.99. To find out more go to: http://www.champfunerals.com/