Monday, 26 August 2013

Dealing with grief

I lost my father a month ago, and I’m still trying to get conscious of this fact. He suffered chronic kidney disease (CKD), and this illness damaged his heart, causing him a heart attack. During this month, I have realized death and mourning are forbidden topics that at least in Latin America we never talk about, until we lose a significant other. There’s no moment for being prepared for facing the news about a relative or someone we care passes away, but not discussing it, and being afraid or in denial of the inevitable experience, will only cause a stronger impact.

We are not only going to deal with the grief for relatives or friends, but also we will deal with our personal grief, at the moment we realize we can become seriously sick or we are getting older, and we are losing our health and strengths.

Death, getting old, unexpected accidents are part of life, they are so closed to us that we cannot see them, until they suddenly come to our lives.

This experience is personal and unique, there are no proper ways of recipes to resolve pain and sorrow easily, in fact, we have the right to demand respect to our own mourning process, no one else can live it on our behalf, and nobody knows how we are actually feeling, and the meaning that the person who passed away has to us.

Because even if this person is no longer physically among us, we still love this person and that remains till the end of our days, along with the experiences and memories we shared with him or her.

I dislike when someone tries to teach me what to do or not to during mourning, or which is going to be worst moment of the process, like if there’s an expertise for it. The best thing we can do is just listen to the other person, and provide care and companion during this process, without judging.

However, I can share from my experience what has been useful for me, hoping it can help someone who can be currently facing the same process:

-          Live actively your mourning process, I don’t avoid crying or talking about my lose if I want to, I try to choose the appropriate time and person, but it’s not a totally rational process, so if one day you’re driving and you need to stop by the cemetery and visit the tomb and cry, or if you need to yield, just go ahead and do it, it’s a completely normal reaction.

-          Face the pain, deal with it, suffer, it’s the best moment to do it, express it freely.
-          Support from friends and relatives becomes really important as part of healing process
-          Don’t lose yourself in the grief process, try to eat, do exercises or activities that will help you to get back to your life. I’m doing it little by little, not pushing too hard, but with daily effort.

-          Loss will remain, no matter how much time passes, however memories and good experiences will survive too. Hold in them, they will keep this person alive in your hearth for a lifetime.

Life won’t be the same again, I know. But yesterday I was a different person of who I am today, that means change is part of life, even we need strong experience to get conscious of that. I don’t have the whole picture of a mourning process yet, but I can tell that never in my 30 years old, I have felt so human, so sensitive, so addressed into human reality, and I have never valued my life in the way I’m doing it now. 

By Rebeca Alvarez

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