I am so sad that you are sad.
Just today in college I lingered to do some computer work as my group of students left the room to go for a break.
As I sat working on the computer one of the students had stayed in the room. She looked tired and I instinctively knew that something was wrong.
When I asked if she was OK the tears started and she poured out her heart to tell me off two deaths of people close to her in one week.
Two?….. that is really tough and to make it tougher one was a suicide. A boy, her cousin aged 21 years old… took his own life. The other was a friend who was found dead in his bed and they do not know yet how he died.
It is very difficult to comfort someone going through this kind of grief and many times it helps them just to be there and listen .
When People are grieving they might feel strong emotions, such as sadness and anger. They also may have have physical reactions, such as not sleeping or even waves of nausea. The student in my class was tired and had dark rings under her eyes so I knew she was not sleeping.
Often the intensity of the grief will be related to how sudden or predictable the loss was and also how you felt about the person who died. With this student the suicide was her cousin and the other unexpected death was a close friend …very tough to handle.
When people feel grief it feels like “waves” or cycles of grief that come and go depending on what you are doing and if there are triggers for remembering the person who has died.
When I think of my own grief I have experienced myself in the past when my father died suddenly I remember that at times I felt lifted and then suddenly my emotions would drop in despair. I found it even hard to utter the words that my father had died as if by uttering the words it became real.
If you’ve lost someone in your immediate family like I did and also this student with her cousin who was close then you may feel cheated out of time you wanted to have with that person. It can also feel hard to express your own grief when other family members are grieving, too.
Some people may hold back their own grief or avoid talking about the person who died because they worry that it may make a parent or other family member sad. This is a common behavior that many of us can identify. It’s also common to feel some guilt over a past argument or a difficult relationship with the person who died.
What I felt I had to tell this student that it was OK to feel and react the way she was feeling now. It was also OK for her to handle this any way she could and all of us react differently. There is no right or wrong way
Some people reach out for support from others and find comfort in good memories. Others become very busy to take their minds off the loss. Some people become depressed and withdraw from their peers or go out of the way to avoid the places or situations that remind them of the person who has died.
For some people, it can help to talk about the loss with others. Some do this naturally and easily with friends and family, while others talk to a professional therapist. As this student had stayed behind in class I realized that she maybe wanted to talk to me as someone who did not know her family and that was maybe her way of trying to handle what she was going through.
I know that when my father died it felt like it was going to be impossible to recover after losing someone I loved and admired. But grief does get gradually better and become less intense as time goes by.
The first few days after someone dies can be intense, with people expressing strong emotions, perhaps crying, comforting each other, and gathering to express their support and condolences to the ones most affected by the loss. It is also very common to feel extremes of anxiety, panic, sadness, and helplessness.
Some people describe feeling “unreal,” as if they’re looking at the world from a faraway place wondering why everything just continues as normal when to you nothing is normal right now.
I remember asking myself …”why is it all just carrying on …do they not understand?”
Sometimes a person can be so shocked or overwhelmed by the death that he or she doesn’t show any emotion right away — even though the loss is very hard. It’s not uncommon to see people smiling and talking with others at a funeral, as if something sad had not happened. Being among other mourners can be a comfort, reminding us that some things will stay the same.
It’s natural to continue to have feelings and questions for a while after someone dies. It’s also natural to begin to feel somewhat better. A lot depends on how your loss affects your life. It’s OK to feel grief for days, weeks, or even longer, depending on how close you were to the person who died.
No matter how you choose to grieve, there’s no one right way to do it. The grieving process is a gradual one that lasts longer for some people than others. There may be times when you worry that you’ll never enjoy life the same way again, but….. you will enjoy life again, you will feel happy again…of that I can assure you.
…I have been there and come back …..I promise you……you will.