WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE DIES
Emotional Health Editor
Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. Visit her online at: maureenpollardmsw.com
"When you feel shocked, it can take time before you start to feel other feelings. It’s hard to believe it’s true when the person you love is unexpectedly gone. At times, it’s easy to deny it or pretend it didn’t happen."
Grief is part of life. Everyone faces loss eventually. Whether it’s your pet, grandparent, a parent, sibling or friend, if you love them, you will grieve when they die.
Sometimes you know someone is sick, or very elderly, and their time is coming to an end. You have time to visit them. Even though it is hard, you have time to say good bye.
Other times, you lose someone very suddenly and you don’t have time to prepare. Your last words with them might have even been an argument.
What you might feel.
When someone dies, it is normal to have a wide range of feelings. Though there are many emotions most people notice as they grieve, every person experiences grief in their own way and their own time.
It can be shocking to lose someone you love. If you knew they were sick, you might have expected them to recover. If you didn’t know they were sick, or if they die suddenly, the shock can be even more powerful.
When you feel shocked, it can take time before you start to feel other feelings. It’s hard to believe it’s true when the person you love is unexpectedly gone. At times, it’s easy to deny it or pretend it didn’t happen.
When you remember that it’s true, you might feel sad and cry because you miss them. It’s also common to feel angry. Maybe you are upset with the person who died, or maybe you are mad at someone you think caused the death.
Sometimes you feel guilty because of something you said or did. On the other hand, you might have regrets about things you didn’t say or do.
When you lose someone you love, you can feel lonely and lost. It can seem like your life is upside down and you just can’t get organized.
What you can do.
Take time to grieve. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Let yourself feel sad when you need to. Cry if you feel like it, but remember it’s ok if crying’s not your thing.
When you are angry, do something safe to let it out. You can go for a run, hit a punching bag, write a letter or make some art. You can even yell – but give the people around you some warning so you don’t scare them too much!
Consider what you can do to remember and honour your loved one. Do you have something special that belonged to them? Is there a place you can go that reminds you of them? Is there a random act of kindness you could do in memory of someone you love, making someone’s day a little brighter as you remember?
When someone you love dies, it can change everything. In time, you will get used to the way things are now. Look for ways to remember them and be patient with yourself as you adjust to life without them.