Dealing with Death

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On the 16th of this month was the 18th anniversary of the day my dad died. His passing had a profound effect on my life. I was eight years old when he died. This was my first experience with death. I believe this to be the event that caused my depression. Maybe I would have turned out depressed anyway. I’m not really sure how it all works, but it seems as though what I call the Deep Sadness started around that time.
People were never meant to die. In the beginning, in the garden, God created us to live with Him. Through our sin death entered the world. The death of a loved one hurts more than I ever could have imagined. Because of death I’ve felt a sadness so intense I wasn’t sure I’d survive it. Somehow though, here I am. 18 years later.
People like to say time makes it better. This is true, but also inaccurate. It’s like saying walking far away from a mountain makes it smaller. The mountain is still huge. It just doesn’t tower over you once you’ve got some space.
After a while you don’t think about it all the time. After a while you don’t spend as much time crying. The time will come where every little thing doesn’t remind you of the person you lost. You will reach a point where you go days, or even a week without thinking about it. Sometimes your grief will still blind side you though. Seemingly out of nowhere a memory will pop up, and maybe it makes you smile, but it also makes you cry.
Maybe friends or family will talk about the person who died. Sometimes I just listen to my mom or my brothers telling stories and all I can do is sit there and listen because time has robbed me of most of my own memories. What’s the worst though is when no one will talk about it at all. When you desperately want to talk about it, but all your friends and family seem to avoid the topic. Death makes people uncomfortable. I get it.
What if you say the wrong thing? What if bringing it up upsets the person? Maybe, like me you’ve googled how to handle it and are left with conflicting or unclear advice. Unfortunately, there is no formula. There is no “say this and the person will be all better.” It takes time to learn to be okay again. We need to learn to let people not be okay. Loving people still needs to happen when they’re hurting. Especially when they’re hurting.
If you tell someone you’ll be there for them, do your best to follow through. A lot of people are understanding about loss for the first six months or so. From my experience people don’t want to talk about it after a while. For some, it’s because talking about it triggers feelings they’d rather not shed light on. For others, they just don’t know what to say and let the fear of saying the wrong thing stop them from saying anything at all.
Even if you don’t know what to say, just being there and listening can make all the difference in the world. What about when it’s your turn to grieve? When you’ve lost someone you love? That’s when it’s time to let your friends and family love you. Take things one day at a time. If that’s too much, break it down more. “I don’t need to get through today, I just need to get through the next hour.” These are the kind of thoughts that have gotten me through months.
Some other advice I would offer people is to feel your feelings. Don’t try to delegate when it’s okay to feel one way or the other. If you’re sad about it, it’s okay to cry. If you’re angry, that’s okay too. Sometimes you might not feel anything at all, and that’s also alright.
After the death of my father, I felt for a while as if I needed to experience this level of grief for everyone who died. That’s not how it works though. When it comes down to it, we love some people more than we love others. You (probably) love your mother more and differently than the love you might have for the kid in your math class. So it makes sense that you would grieve them differently.
The last thing I’d say about grief is it tends to be different for everyone. Don’t assume that just because your friend isn’t going into hysterics they don’t feel sad about what’s happened. People express things differently.
Anyway, thank you all for taking the time to read this.
God bless you and Merry Christmas.
love,
Michelle

5 Responses

  1. Aunt Georgia

    Beautifully written, Michelle. Your deep feelings are expressed so well in this blog. It’s healthy for you to express, and surely helpful for others. Everyone, at least of a certain age, has experienced this kind of loss. Im sure you have touched many today. You give everyone permission to grieve in her/his own way without judging.
    Maybe you should go back to school and study psychology, you’re a natural I bet.

    • Michelle

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it. I’ve thought about going back to school, but it’s not in the cards right now. Thanks for reading. I love you.
      Michelle

  2. Lissi

    Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. I love you, and know that I pray for you and also for the repose of your dad’s soul. Although I never met your dad, I can’t help but think he would be proud of the person you’ve become – you are so strong, and brave, and compassionate, and loyal. He was lucky to have a daughter like you.

    Love,
    Lissi

    • Michelle

      Thank you for following my blog, and for your constant support. It means a lot to me, as do your prayers. Thank you for everything, you always seem to know just what to say. I love you a lot.
      Michelle

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