The death of a loved one causes us severe pain and makes us enter a kind of lethargy from which it seems impossible to get out. It is a natural state after a loss , but bereavement changes and differs from person to person.
When someone leaves us, something inside us fractures. It is a feeling that is difficult to explain and that brings with it a multitude of thoughts and questions, which very often we cannot answer.
To pay attention to these feelings and help ourselves, we must allow ourselves to explore and unearth the questions that haunt us and capture our mind. Speaking and not vetoing is essential. The responses to this situation are highly variable, ranging from crying and anxiety to sadness and fear.
It is essential to give ourselves time to react and elaborate, but also to allow the people who love us to accompany us. Silence, looks, sensitivity, presence without pressure or discomfort, are all factors that in these moments have more value than words.
11 questions and 11 answers following the death of a loved one
While everyone experiences the death of a loved one differently, there are some common questions during bereavement. It is not possible for us to obviate this reality, as great sorrow and uncertainty are added to our emotional state. Let’s see some of the most frequently asked questions ((Martínez González, 2010):
1. Will I forget her voice, her laugh, her face?
When a person close to us dies, we do our utmost to maintain his presence in everyday life. We feel that forgetting his laugh, his gaze, his face and his way of walking would be like betraying the person himself. However, time makes his memory less clear and we are assailed by doubts. The possibility of forgetting his physical characteristics causes us great suffering.
In this regard, we must know that although the loved one is no longer there and we can no longer touch or listen to him, he remains in our heart. The affection and the moments lived remain in our hearts, nothing and no one can take them away from us, not even time.
2. Am I going crazy? Will I be able to bear it?
The loss of a loved one causes a state of shock, a blockage, something extremely difficult and alienating. These emotions, all together, create the feeling of loss of control over ourselves. It must be said that almost always
necessary to process the event immediately, it is like a defense mechanism that aligns our great inner strength to gather the energies we need to return to the surface and continue our life.
3. How long will all this last?
The answer to this question is extremely variable, because time depends on the circumstances that have arisen, on personal characteristics, on the relationship that united us, on the way in which the loss occurs, etc. In any case,
The first Christmases, the first birthdays, the first holidays, etc.
The despair due to not being able to share the events, achievements and feelings with this person makes us constantly relive the tragedy. However, we can say that this interior time is not a passive time, as it helps us to accept death and, slowly, to live with it.
4. Will I go back to being the same as before?
It is evident that the death of a loved one marks and breaks us, and this inevitably changes us. we lose part of ourselves, a part that goes away with this person. We mature in some aspects, we redefine our value system, we value different things, we think differently. All of this constitutes a growth process that often turns into a greater compromise with life.
5. Why did this happen to me? Why did he leave me? Why now?
It is in a desperate attempt to understand the incomprehensible and unfair that we ask ourselves these questions. They have the function of helping us to review, analyze and understand reality in a rational way, because we feel the need to control and manage the situation to combat anxiety.
The death of a loved one is unwelcome and unwanted. Faced with the absence of answers, we will end up asking ourselves “for what purpose”, which will be much more suitable for restructuring our experience and our grief.
6. Am I sick?
No. The anguish and feelings of grief over the loss of a loved one are not a disease. They are part of a natural process that we have to go through. This does not mean that we should not pay particular attention to them, on the contrary we must always carefully meditate on them. We will need an undefined time to recover and restore a psychological balance that allows us to manage our emotions and thoughts.
7. Do I need psychological help?
It is normal to feel bad during bereavement. In the beginning, the person who suffers needs to express himself, review and remember the deceased in a constant way, repeatedly. Some people need a professional who defines the limits of malaise, to be listened to, accompanied and understood unconditionally.
All this is offered by therapy, but undoubtedly not everyone needs therapeutic help to walk this path. This depends on personal conditions.
8. What do I do with his things?
The reactions are usually extreme. Some people get rid of everything, with the idea that they will ease the pain of the memory. Others, however, keep everything as the deceased left it. Any reaction shows us that there is no acceptance in the face of loss, which is why it is advisable to help these people assimilate absence.
There is no better way to proceed, but it is definitely advisable not to go to extremes.
We must keep in mind, however, that keeping the things that have the most sentimental value will help us remember with love and affection, based on the meaning we give them.
9. Does time heal everything?
Time does not heal everything, but it undoubtedly offers us a new perspective. By adding time and experiences to our journey, we add distance between the painful event and the present. This leads us to choose which attitude to adopt in our life: we can have a defeatist attitude or we can have an attitude of overcoming . Time reminds us of this.
10. When does mourning end?
Mourning ends when we return to show interest in life and the living. When we invest our energies in relationships, in ourselves, in our work projects and in our emotional well-being. It is then that we begin to renew our enthusiasm for life.
It ends when we can remember the loved one with love, affection and nostalgia, without the memory dragging us into deep pain, into an endless emotional malaise.
11. What do I do with everything I’m feeling?
Faced with the whirlwind of emotions and sensations that have overwhelmed us, we find ourselves facing the setting of utility. Each of these manifestations has an intimate meaning that we must work on, which we must explore and decipher in order to reconstruct ourselves. It can help us to write about it, to listen to music that stimulates the processing of emotions or to practice activities that are meaningful to us.
This will help us to appreciate and remember with affection the deceased person, who will never abandon us because he will remain in us in the form of memories and teachings.
Main illustration by Mayra Arvizo