Info & Advice
Loss of Loved Ones
Have you ever noticed that leaves turn brown and fall to the ground? Have you ever noticed dead insects or birds lying on the road? Living things like plants and animals will one day die. The same goes for human beings. All of us will die eventually.
What is Death?
Described simply, death happens when the body stops working. A living thing has died when its body is no longer functioning. When someone dies, he or she no longer breathes, eats, sees, hears, feels and feels no pain.
Death is a Natural Part of Life
Death is a topic which many people avoid talking about. In our society, people often feel uncomfortable talking about death. As death is often not discussed openly, it may seem mysterious and even frightening to many. Death however, is a natural part of life and understanding more about it can make it seem less mysterious or frightening.
You may have heard adults use phrases like “passed away”, “passed on”, or “gone to sleep” to describe death to children. What the adults mean when they say these is that this person has died. You may be confused about such terms as adults try to explain death to you. You may worry that because a relative went to sleep and never woke up, the same may happen to you when you go to sleep. The term “gone to sleep” is sometimes used by adults to say that someone has died.
We Grieve Over the Loss
When someone you love dies, the pain and sadness that you feel can seem unbearable. You may feel many emotions all at once. Accepting that your loved one is gone forever can be very difficult. When someone we love dies, we grieve.
In the early days after your loved one dies, the sadness that you feel can be overwhelming. You may feel as if you cannot control it. You may also long to be with your loved one and miss him or her badly.
Give yourself the permission to grieve. Grief cannot be hurried. It takes time. Be patient with yourself.
Death Brings Changes
When someone we love dies, our lives change. We lose many things. How much you lose depends on how close the person was to you. For example, if your close friend died, you will have lost a companion, someone to talk to and spend time with. If you have lost a parent, you may wonder who will take care of you and listen to your troubles. If your parent was the sole breadwinner of the family, you may wonder how your family is going to survive financially. The other parent of yours may need to work to support the family and you and your siblings may need to care for yourselves.
Death brings loss. You have lost not only your loved one, but also the life you shared with them. Just knowing that you will never speak to, hug or kiss them again is very painful. Adjusting to these losses takes time.
What Can You Do to Express Your Pain?
Most people feel better when they express their pain in some way. It is good to let out your emotions rather than keep them pent up inside.
There are a few ways to cope:
Write to your loved one
Some people find that writing to their loved one or friend helps. Writing about your thoughts allows you to process them better than just thinking about them. It also helps you to maintain a connection to your loved one although they are no longer around. You can write to tell them how much you miss them, or you can write to tell them about your day or to ask for their advice. It is good to note the date of your entry so that you can record how you feel on a day and look back on your progress. You can write your letters in a notebook.
You can also draw how you feel, or draw about any thoughts that you have. Drawing can help you to express your pain as well.
Make a Scrapbook
Some children find it helpful to make a scrapbook filled with photos and drawings of their loved one or pet, to help them remember them.
Be Patient with Yourself
For a while, when the pain of the loss is still fresh, you may not feel like doing the things you used to do. For example, you may not feel like playing with your friends, like you used to. You may not feel like eating. You may not be able to sleep well either. This is normal especially when you just experienced the lost. Give yourself time to adjust. However, do not neglect your health.
It is OK to cry
Allow yourself to cry. When we are grieving over a loved one, we may find ourselves crying often. This is normal. It may also be the first time you have seen the adults around you cry. You may be alarmed at first, but understand that they are also upset and need time to grieve.
Seek Comfort in Religion
If you have a religion, it helps to process the loss in terms of your religious beliefs. Different religions have different beliefs regarding death. It can help to speak to a friend or an adult of the same faith for comfort.
Talk to Someone About Your Feelings
Talking to someone who is understanding can help you to feel better. You may also have many questions about what is happening at the funeral which you don’t understand. Asking someone to explain this to you can make it less confusing. You can approach:
- A friend
- A teacher
- A relative or family member
- School counsellor
- Tinkle Friend
- A trusted adult