Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sudden vs. Anticipated Death

Sometimes the question comes up, “Which is harder: sudden death or anticipated death?” Would  it be better to know your child is dying and being able to say ‘good-bye’ and live life filled with lots of things you could do together, or is no preparation in the event of a sudden car accident or such, easier on the parents.

Many people have been interviewed on this topic and all have a variety of opinions. There isn’t one better choice. Death will bring the same shock, whether you knew it was coming or didn’t. What you do need is the same support from others. You will need more support systems with anticipatory loss and not as much with sudden death.

In sudden death, you didn’t get to say good-bye. That is the common complaint. According to death specialist Darcie Sims, “We never say good-bye.” I found this to be so true and the title of my first book reflects this idea.

But no matter how you look at it, there is incredible pain. Regardless of your loss, it is important to get support from those who had someone die the same way. You will feel a particular bond with them. Hope is the main goal of Compassionate Friends and that is what they try to do, give hope, when you feel there is none there. TCF provides the opportunity to connect with others and eventually you will find joy again.

Different people try different ways of self-help. One father had massages, exercised, moved around a lot and did a lot of reflection. One mother felt yoga was very beneficial, as was hiking. She said she would get a sense of serenity in doing one of these activities. Another mother made baskets of stuff for bereaved. She thought it would help others and ended up starting an organization to this goal. She also did a lot of running and just getting out of the house to clear her mind. Another father said that anything that gets you out of bed and taking that next step is helpful. He also said he got great support and information from TCF that allowed him to reach out and help others as well as himself. Still another mother said golf and getting into nature, allowed her to do a lot of searching. With that in mind, she met a lot of fabulous people who helped her and that she also helped.

All these people give a few realistic goals you can set for yourself: (1) self care- drink a lot of water and breathe; take care of your body (2) find a safe person to talk to; family doesn’t want to hear it all the time and (3) find something that brings you joy.

We can grow through grief. Set goals of where you’re going to be in the future and strive to reach them. Some will tell you it doesn’t get better, but it really does. You can find joy in doing what makes you happy and through people coming into your life who truly understand what you are going through.

A wave can knock you down again and again, but one day you’ll get on top of that wave and move on to find hope again.

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