Humans of Success - Losing Someone Special
Unfortunately everyone will be able to relate to this Blog because everyone will have lost someone close to them be it a grandparent, a parent, a child or even a pet animal. I believe nobody's experience is more or less tragic or important than anyone else's. We all deal with death differently. What we can do though is become more resilient in the face of adversity. I do believe that those people who have had to overcome challenges in life; loss of a job, illnesses or death are the most resilient people I know. Now I don't count myself as the perfect example of someone who can take all life throws at them and get back up again but I do know I have been through testing times and the fact I am still here, still coping, still breathing shows I am doing the best I possibly can.
So for those people who have lost a loved one and are struggling to cope or feel as though their world is crumbling down around them - here are some messages to keep in mind.
Care for yourself, more than anything in this world
I am a people pleaser. I know that. Trying to make sure everyone around me is doing OK and are happy because I do think that is how I get my happiness. People tell me "stop worrying"..."that's not your problem"... "they will cope". But that is just me. If someone is feeling down, I'll find a way to pick them up, if a problem needs fixing, I'll fix it. That's the attitude I have. Maybe it is a good trait to have. But some day it will be the wrecking of me. I've come to realise that I sometimes see the problem and try to solve before it is even there or try to avoid someone from feeling stressed by helping them out before the stress even comes. So make sure you take care of yourself first. Be selfish even just for one day and learn to say no to people because although you may look out for everyone else, there will be a time when you will need someone to look out for you and no one will recognize it. You can't be there to save everyone else if you aren't safe yourself.
Talk about it, but only when you are ready
Although people say talking is the best therapy - sometimes it really isn't. My mum is the biggest advocate for this, she will always talk about how she feels, ask you how you are feeling and sit and talk about memories she has of a loved one because that's what helps her cope. I am a different kettle of fish. When the pain is so raw, when it's that special someone's birthday, it's the Christmas period or your Timehop reminds you what you were doing together this day last year - I do not want to talk about it. The reason is not because I am embarrassed or afraid to cry (definitely not, I cry at an old couple holding hands) it is because talking about it upsets me and if I start to cry I am worried I might never stop. Although we appreciated the messages we were sent like "thinking about you" or "sorry for your loss" they were just painful constant reminders of what was happening. I didn't want to look at my phone because it was just like reliving the moment over and over again. Some people may get comfort in those texts, but in the immediate aftermath I didn't want peoples sympathy. I didn't want to be annoyed. So if you are like me don't feel bad about turning your phone off or simply not looking at it until you are ready. I waited to a few days later when I felt strong enough and replied to all messages with a simple "x". Sometimes (and I really stress sometimes) not thinking about the memories and distracting yourself with daily tasks is easier. It is almost like you don't want to feel. It is only 9 years after I lost my Dad that I can speak in length about it. Time is a healer.
Allow your friends to be there for you
Again, I put my hands up. I used to never allow my friends to know when I was having a bad day as I refer to it as because it was always in my mind that I would be a drain on them and that friends are people you do fun stuff with and you don't speak about negative things. How wrong was I? Instead of replying to a "How are you?" message with "Aye, grand" say "I'm not actually great.. I'm having a bad day." One day recently I actually took it upon myself to text a friend and say "Can we do something?" and she knew just from that text that I needed her, I was having a bad day. These are the people who know you best so don't anyone feel like you need to spill your guts to get a reaction. Friends can tell if you need them there for you by a simple heart emoji. I would have really struggled this past year if it wasn't for my friends being persistent in asking me to go out or do things. They would send me a thoughtful message on a difficult day or get me little keepsakes that I will treasure forever. And always remember to tell them how much you appreciate them for those things.
Make new traditions & memories
It won't make you miss them any less but it will make things slightly easier. The first few weeks after a death you feel useless; you are probably off work and find yourself doing meaningless tasks to keep busy. Two weeks after I lost a close family member I drove to a garden centre and picked out a beautiful pink blossom tree which blooms every year on the month of their birthday, we went home and planted it somewhere the whole family could visit. I put together a memory box filled with their favourite clothes, perfume and photos. I found a hand written letter they had written months previous to their partner telling him how much they loved them and how thankful they were to have met them and got it framed. All these little things helped me get through those painful few weeks by keeping me busy and feeling useful. Instead of dreading Christmas this year, which we did anyway, on Boxing Day myself and close friends and family climbed a mountain they had done the year previous. It was still the worst Christmas our family has had but those few hours took the sadness away and we felt as though we were doing her proud. So start something new this year to commemorate someone special - be that person in the family who does something to pick everyone up and get everyone back together and maybe even talking again.
I miss the people I have lost in my life everyday and think how differently life would be if they were here. What would they be saying and what would they be doing today. But I also think that life isn't going to get better by being angry or feeling sorry for myself. Life is a cruel and unfair place that throws things at us that we think "how will we ever cope" but we need to stand up in the face of adversity and remember that we wouldn't be the strong, resilient, caring people we are today without these challenges. I would like to think my family won't ever have to go through that emotional and physical pain of losing someone ever again. But that is unrealistic. All I can hope is that we are now stronger and more resilient to deal with whatever more life has to throw at us. - Anonymous
The pain you experience today, is the strength you get tomorrow