Aug 02

6 Helpful Ways to Cope with the Death of a Loved One

death of a loved one

Nothing can be more painful than dealing with the death of a loved one

Yesterday I received the sad news of the passing of a friend whose name is identical to the actor my generation has known to be Superman.  Christopher J. Reeves was a great father, a loving husband, and a dear friend to everyone and his Facebook wall says it all.  The outpouring of condolences and testimonials is a clear indication that this man, my friend, was a blessing to many.

Chris and I met through my work as an Adobe Technical Support engineer.  He was from Australia and he ran a production studio which required him to learn video-editing which is my specialty.  He was a regular customer back then and since I was mostly the one who handled all the Adobe Premiere calls, we spoke to each other a lot.

We got closer when he told me how he’s married to a Filipino and that he frequented the Philippines a lot.  We exchanged emails outside of work (social media wasn’t really big back then) and kept in touch until he got on Facebook.  My family and I went to dinner with him some years back when he visited our country.  He told me he will be here and for us to meet somewhere in Roxas Blvd.  He was warm, fatherly and funny at the same time.  He even gave me some immigration papers to sign in case I wanted to go to Australia.  The guy was truly one-of-a-kind.

That was the only personal encounter I had with him but our friendship continued through Facebook.  Once in a while I would get comments from him when I post a picture of my family or during my birthday.  He was genuine and sincere and you’ll know from his comments that he truly cares that’s why news of his passing brought me sadness.

He was an awesome friend to someone like me whom he barely knew so I can’t imagine how painful this must be for his wife and children.  My heart goes out to them.  He’s a big loss to his family and friends and all the lives he has touched.

Losing someone you love can be the most painful experience of all.  Knowing that you will no longer see the person for good hurts so bad and I would know because I’ve had a couple of loved ones pass away.  People who were very important to me.  It’s difficult to pick up the pieces again but it is possible.

So how exactly do we cope with the death of a loved one?  Here are some helpful ways:


Allow yourself to go through the pain

When a loved one passes away, the feeling of loss and sadness envelops us and the best way to channel all the pain you feel inside is to cry it out.  The first few days would really be the most difficult.  You will find yourself crying even when you don’t intend to.  The sight of the person’s belonging, their picture, anything that reminds you of him or her will bring you to tears and that is perfectly normal.

Going through the pain can take months or even years but it’s all part of the process.  It is necessary for us to all go through this stage because this is what will make us tough and eventually help us move forward.

When my father died in 2003, I would always cry even months after he was buried.  Every time I remember all the good memories, I cried.  I cried during my first Christmas without him, my first birthday without him, and so forth.  Chances are you will too but you don’t have to stop yourself from doing so.  Let it hurt until it doesn’t hurt that much anymore.


Slowly try to accept things

When you are mourning a loved one who died, the very first stage for those who are left behind is denial.  This is a time when you still can’t accept what happened.  This is when everything hasn’t sunk in and you feel afloat as if time passes you by but you don’t move with it and that’s totally understandable.

You’ve been with the person for as long as you have, did great things with them, built great  memories with them, and now they’re gone and you will never see them again.  That is not easy to accept.  It would not be easy to simply let them go and that’s okay.  That’s what makes you human.

You must realize though that this would not be permanent.  At some point, you will need to accept that the person is gone.  Take comfort in the fact that he or she is in a better place, that he or she won’t have to go through the difficulties in life and that he or she is watching over you.  That he or she doesn’t want to see you miserable.


Be in the company of loved ones

On December 18, 2012, we received a phone call from my sister-in-law.  This was a call I will never forget for the rest of my life.  A call I would never want to receive ever again.  She was hysterical when she broke the news that her parents, my in-laws, were brutally murdered inside their home.

My wife almost fainted and I had to calm her down for a couple of minutes after receiving this awful, tragic news.  We were all perplexed.  Each of us asking if this is really happening.  Sadly, it did happen and till now, no one has been arrested and the house they lived in have been abandoned.

I didn’t think we can survive this tragedy at the beginning but when you have someone by your side grieving with you, it helps lighten the burden you’re carrying.  We all struggled in the beginning but having each other helped us move forward.  This ordeal got us all closer to one another because it made us realize that life is short and that to make the most out of life, you need to spend more time with your loved ones as much as you can.


Keep yourself preoccupied

Loneliness creeps in when you are by your lonesome and idle so try to keep yourself preoccupied.  Clean the house, keep busy with your day job or pick a new hobby or hobbies to keep you from rekindling the memories you had with the departed loved one which will surely bring sadness to your day.

My sister-in-law has a bakery she ran with her husband.  After my in-laws died, she was left to take care of all the properties they left behind that kept her busy as hell.  She still cried from time to time, but the hectic schedule she juggled lessened the chance of being sad though she still cries a lot to this day.


Start moving on

You might feel a little guilt in doing so but at some point, you need to start letting go and you do this by getting rid of the things that reminds you of the person.  You don’t necessarily have to throw things away.  You can either hide them from plain sight or give them to relatives who could have good use for them like clothes, shoes, or golf clubs for example.  Of course there are exceptions to this but as much as possible, try to choose those that remind you of them the most

You need to learn how to live without the person now that he or she is gone because this would be how your life will be like moving forward.  You need to establish a new normalcy that doesn’t include them.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll be erasing them totally out of your life.  They will always occupy a place in your heart but you have to do this to help you move on with your life.


Celebrate the person’s life

There’s no better way to make a loved one who left us happy where ever they are but to celebrate their life.  And how exactly do we do this?

Continue their legacy.  Whatever they have imparted to you when they were still alive whether it be values, skills, or their dreams, do your best to carry on.  Make them proud and let them find peace by letting them see how you honor them through your actions.

One of the lessons I continue to do in honor of my late father is the love I have for my own family.  Back when he was alive, he stressed the importance of a complete, intact family.  Never mind if you aren’t earning much, never mind if you don’t have fancy cars or big houses.  As long as we’re together is all that matters.  My dad did it before with our family, and I’m going to continue doing it for mine.


They said time heals all wounds but when a person dies, the wound doesn’t really heal.  That wound will forever be with us.  We just learn how to deal with the pain until such time when we’re so used to it that we don’t feel it hurt as bad as it did before.

Life is short.  What you have today may not be around tomorrow so hug your wives and kids as much as you can.  Spend time with them, enjoy each moment because we are all on borrowed time.

How do you cope with the death of a loved one or someone close to you?


I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.

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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

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