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Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One


By with 60 comments
two girls sitting near a grave mourning the loss of a loved one

Loss of a loved one in your life is agreeably the most difficult and traumatic experience.

When you lose a loved one, you tend to sulk deep into the dungeons of darkness, and the colors of life fade away.

The loss of a loved one makes life so meaningless, and the world suddenly seems to be so barren.

Losing a loved one might even bring your life to a halt or make it disoriented.

Some of you must’ve gone through it, while others will go through this sad phase in life sometime or the other.

That’s because death is something that will come to all of us, it’s just a matter of time.

I’m sorry if I’ve invoked some sad feelings in your heart or brought up some bad memories. I’ve dealt with losing a loved one when I lost my Mom a few years back, so I can relate to it.

But today, I want you to share your experiences to help those who haven’t faced loss of a loved one in their life yet, or aren’t able to get over it.

I want you to tell them how you think one should deal with death in the most sensible manner.

I understand your feeling that there’s no sensible way to deal with the loss of a loved one. But it makes sense to deal with such situation and carry on with life.

Death is a very sensitive topic, which we often avoid.

Most of us are even scared to talk or read about death. I know of people who treat it as a bad omen to even think of death of their loved ones.

However, no matter how much we pretend to forget and avoid the topic, the fact remains that death is a part of life, and we should try to understand it better.

“Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.” ~Author Unknown

Understanding Death

For most of us, death is the villain. It ruthlessly brings to an end a beautiful life that you’re living, mostly at inappropriate times.

Aren’t you are faced with the question why do people have to die? Or why is it that only your loved ones die, while so many others remain alive.

I heard this question from a few grownups , and even from my kids.

I told them that anything that comes “in” has to go “out”, any person that “enters” needs to “exit”. Not clear?

Every event that starts comes to an end. Everything that takes birth has to die. Be it stories, movies, plants, insects, fish, animals, or even humans.

Death is a certainty or an event that is going to happen in everyone’s life for sure. No one has control over it, and death makes no distinction between your foes or friends.

I’m sorry if I scared you, but facing the truths of life will help you to live your life meaningfully. You need to face the fear to make your life easy.

Different Views on Death

There are so many different views on death and dealing with the loss of a loved one. Let me share a few of them with you.

  • Those who believe in rebirths, think of death as the opportunity to continue life in some other form or live in some other world.
  • Spiritual thinkers strongly hold the view that you’re a spiritual being having a human experience, and death is just like going back home.
  • Ones who’ve faith in God reason that death is the opportunity to be with Him.
  • People who believe in karma consider death as the crucial time to receive rewards or punishments as per how you live your life.
  • Some ancient civilizations and religions suggest that there’s life after death, and the story or movie doesn’t end at death. The body dies but the soul or spirit lives on.
  • The soul remains connected with you and your negative reactions impact it in a negative way. So you should not mourn death, but pray for your loved ones to have a good journey ahead!

However, whether there’s life after death or not, loss of a loved one is a reason to remember the positive aspects of the person and the life lived by the person.

And, death is a time to reflect upon on life in general.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”  ~ Khalil Gibran

Why the Loss of a Loved One is Tough to Handle

When your loved one departs, all that you’re left with are the memories of the person. Most of the times, you might find it difficult to handle these memories.

Incidents, events, things, and people revive these memories and you tend to feel sad about the loss. You miss the person, and with time such memories become associated with sadness and pain.

This happens more so in cases when the loss of a loved one is unexpected and tragic. Your heart and mind isn’t ready and willing to accept this unfortunate event of life.

You tend to not understand the loss and keep blaming yourself, others, or the circumstances and find it difficult to come to terms with it. It seems so unjust and cruel.

You then harbor such painful thoughts and feelings for long periods and are unable to cope up with, or move forward in life.

This is why you need to take steps to learn about dealing with the stress of loss of a loved one with the help of some coping mechanisms.

“Love’s over brimming mystery joins death and life. It has filled my cup of pain with joy.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

life meets death

Coping with the Loss of a Loved One

Your loved one could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, someone in the neighborhood, or even your pet. They can be your parents, siblings, children, or your spouse.

Loss of a loved one requires you to go through phases of grief to cope with your emotional upheaval and mental disturbance.

Though the coping process varies from person to person, here are some practical steps that you need to take when your loved one dies.

1. Accepting the death of a loved one – It is said in the ancient Indian scriptures that the place, time, and manner of your death is fixed the moment you take birth.

Even if it’s not, death is an event that cannot be changed and you’ve no option but to accept it. Death sometimes happens due to reasons beyond your understanding. Nevertheless, you need to accept it.

I had a tough time accepting my Mom’s death, even though I know she had cancer and her end was destined. But you tend to fight against all odds, and never want to lose hope. You keep trying right till the end!

People, who go in the denial mode, suffer more. Sometimes, denial is a part of the initial shock that the person receives on getting to know about the loss of a loved one.

There are all sorts of weird feelings you may come across and experience. Know that it is normal and common with all. Don’t be alarmed, just go through the process.

Acceptance does come gradually, and you need to give it time. Sometimes all understanding and logic fail when we are faced with an expected loss of a loved one.

But no matter how unreasonable the death of your dear one appears to you, you need to actively deal with the grief and accept the pain.

“We love our dear ones deeply and miss them when they leave us. But we know that the bond of love is greater than death.” ~ Harold Klemp

2. Embrace the change in your life – Your life may not function as normally as it used to before the loss of your loved one.

It is natural to experience a change in your lifestyle or daily routine in such cases. It is okay to feel what you’re feeling and try to find a reason for the change.

Life has its mysterious ways, the best you can do is to flow with it and experience the changes it puts you in.

The changes in your life may also depend on your relation and intimacy with the deceased, and whether he or she was a part or partner in your daily routine.

Initially, you may need to change your habits that involved your loved one so as to avoid the disturbing thoughts and feelings that remind you of them.

However, you cannot and should not completely avoid the pain that come with the loss of a loved one.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”  ~Kenji Miyazawa

3. Experience and express the grief – Loss of your loved one might be accompanied with some pain. Don’t try to always avoid it, but face it directly and experience it.

You might undergo a range of emotions including some that make you feel bad, to some that make you sad. You need to open yourself to them.

It is important that you express or share your emotions and let them flow free to get out of your system.

Don’t suppress these feelings as they then tend to get negative and turn into regrets, or make you feel worse.

The process of releasing this negative energy is also known as mourning. Crying is the easiest and quickest way to release your grief, though you may have your own way to express your grief.

You can also express your sad feelings by preparing a photo album, writing a diary or blog, making a painting, or letting it out by listening or playing music.

Societies and communities have rituals and traditions that help the family and friends provide support and strength to the bereaved family to pass through this phase of grief.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~ Thomas Campbell

4. Move on with life – The grieving period, the duration of which may be of a few days, weeks, months, or even years, needs to end.

However, if you feel you’re not able to cope with the loss of your loved one, you should confide in your spiritual leader or seek professional help.

Spiritual views and meditation do help and let you try to understand the underlying reasons and principles of life.

After a few days of mourning, it is okay to indulge in activities like going out with a friend, or even watching a movie without feeling guilty about it.

Socialization helps you to move forward and get on with life and you should avoid living in isolation for long periods.

These are stress buster activities that help you normalize after the numbness that you experience during grieving.

Remember that you’ve your own life to live, responsibilities and liabilities to carry out, so you need to take charge of yourself.

You’ll feel good if you talk and share the positive contributions of your loved one. You can even have special occasions and get-together in memory of your dear one as opportunities for healing.

Things may not be the same, and a loss is after all a loss. However, you need to learn to live without your loved one. The show goes on, life moves on. That’s how it is.

Bear in mind that your loved one would never have wanted you to suffer. Instead, he or she would’ve loved to see you live your life to the fullest. Do that for the sake of your loved one.

There will be times when you’ll come across things, events, and people that will remind you of the loss of a loved one. Treat them as blessed memories and don’t taint them with negativity.

Create a healthy attitude, and whenever you’re reminded of your loved one, honor the person with your love and respect. Be positive and cherish the memories of the good old times you had together.

Take the lessons and teaching from the life of your loved ones, and make them a part of your life.

“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There are various ways of coping with the grief that result from the death of a loved one. Along with those you also need to take care of yourself and avoid all forms of negativity.

Never resort to negative options like getting violent, hurting others or self-inflicting pain, giving in to alcohol or drugs. These only make the situation complicated and worse.

Imagine if it were you who died, you would never want your loved ones to spend the rest of their life crying or grieving over you – isn’t it?

Instead, loss of a loved one teaches you to appreciate life, to treasure and cherish the moments, and not take life for granted.

Gradually with time you’ll come to terms with life without your loved one. You’ll still harbor the old memories but they’ll not be painful ones.

Understanding death will make you understand your life better. You’ll realize that death is just an event and you should not let it eclipse the beautiful relationship you had with your loved one.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins

Over to you –

What are your views about death? Did the loss of a loved one ever trouble you? What practical ways would you suggest for dealing with the loss of a loved one? Share in the comment below.

 

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos,  AlicePopkorn



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About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

60 Comments

  1. Ahsan

    April 2, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Hello Harleena Singh,

    Another great post on DEATH. Yes.. death certainly is a sensitive word which we don’t love to mention. Even I guess lots of us even don’t search anything in net about death. Its a kind of fear.

    I already lost one of my most favorite Uncle. I respect him lot. He loves me so much. He is my inspiration to move forward. But as you said, after anyone’s death it will be pathetic days for closer ones. But as time progresses, one will get his strength back & the saddest part will erase slowly.

    In Islam, it is said that man is mortal being & the world is a test place. So what you do in earth, after death they will either rewarded or punished.

    Again thanks for great post on Death because these is not lots of elaborate article on death related :)

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      Harleena Singh

      April 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

      Hi Ahsan,

      I chose to write on death today as some people and societies consider it as a taboo topic, I think of it as a part of life.

      I feel there’s nothing to fear death, because when your time is going to come, it will come. However, this does not mean that you do not take care and precautions. But living in fear of death is not a sensible option.

      I’m sorry for the loss of your uncle. I noticed, may be it’s not that way, but you wrote about respect and love in present tense. This shows that even though he’s not alive, but for you the relationship still lives.

      Thanks for the heads up about the Islamist view of life. It’s essence resembles very much with the karma theory.

      I’m glad that you like the post and that it didn’t scare you away!

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing your views to the post. :)

  2. Praveen Rajarao

    April 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    That was heavy, and i just hope I do not have to refer back to this article at any point of my life :-)

    I believe in rebirth and my views of life is filled with ‘karma’. I have not given much thought to death, and the afterlife, and I hope to remain this way :-)

    It is quite a coincidence that I saw a movie “PS – I Love You” which is very much related to this article, you should watch it if you havent and maybe we can discuss more !!!!

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      Harleena Singh

      April 3, 2013 at 12:36 am

      Hi Praveen,

      I’m sorry if this post was a bit too heavy for you. I tried to keep it simple and within limits, but you know what happens when you’re in a flow of writing, you tend to get too deep or too far.

      So, you prefer not to think much about death, and that in fact is a good thing to do. Instead, one should try to live every moment of life and make the most and best of it. But yes, it is also good to be prepared for any eventuality in life, and life should not catch you unawares.

      Karma is a good guiding system to keep us on track of goodness. I haven’t seen the movie you’ve mentioned, which I’ll make sure I watch it if it comes on TV!

      Thanks for your time and for sharing our views and thoughts on this topic. :)

  3. Oluwaseun Babajide

    April 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Touching post, emotional and it reminds me of some sad moments…

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom, MAY HER SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE. I can understand what you are going through, sure, I can relate.

    I don’t think we can ever cope with the loss of a loved one, no matter what we read, or how we try to ignore it – they are “irreplaceable”. The only thing we can do is PRAY and appreciate life more. This links to your previous article, we should pay more attention to our kids and the people around us..

    Whatever we do, lets be nice and do our best.
    Thanks, this is too much for me; I have to go for a walk now.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

      Hi Seun,

      Honestly, I didn’t want to make it a too emotional post, but I guess you did resonate and relate with the content. I’m sorry if it brought forth the sad moments in your life and I hope you’ll be able to cope with them.

      It’s been many years that my Mom passed by and I’m completely at peace with the event now. I’m sure my Mom too is at peace wherever she is; but she’ll always remain in my heart, and I feel happy about it.

      It really takes time for you to be able to cope with the loss of a loved one. For me, spirituality was a comforting factor that brought me to peace with the loss of my Mom.

      Living every moment, praying, being with your family as much as you can is so so important in life. I’m glad you understand its value.

      I totally agree when you say, “Whatever we do, let’s be nice and do our best.”

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and views on this very sensitive topic. I hope it helps you in any way.

  4. Theodore Nwangene

    April 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    A very touching post Leena,

    It has happened to me many times. I remembered when I lost my younger sister to convulsion at the age of 3, I also lost a very close cousin 3 years ago. He was coming home for Christmas and had an accident which claimed his life at the spot.

    I also lost my formal boss last who was so friendly to me last year. In fact, there are many of them.

    The main thing is to always move on with life knowing that no matter what you do or how you do it, they won’t come back again.

    So having that in mind is enough to console anyone.

    Thanks for sharing dear and have a great month.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 3, 2013 at 1:19 am

      Hi Theodore,

      I’m sorry for all the loss of loved ones you’ve experienced in your life. Such eventualities are never easy to face and live through but what you say is so right – no matter what you do, they won’t come back again.

      So, we’ve to move on and that’s the only sensible, logical, general, and common option left with us. And, you’re right – the acceptance of this fact should be a good enough consolation for those who have difficulty in acceptance of loss of loved ones in life.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your so important thoughts and views on the post. I really appreciate it. Have a happy month you too! :)

  5. Ilka Flood

    April 3, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I wish I would have had the knowledge you shared above when I lost my mom at the age of barely 21. I didn’t deal well with it at all. Withdrew from all my friends and basically shut down. Lucky for me, my friends and co-workers wouldn’t have any of it. They kept bugging me, forcing me to go out with them …trust me, they were real pests ….but I am so glad they were so persistent or I probably wouldn’t be here today.

    Everyone is different and deals with the loss of a loved one in a different way. But your tips above are sure helpful. Thank you so much for sharing them!

    Ilka

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Ilka,

      I’m glad that you think my post is worth the knowledge it shares.

      I’m sorry about the loss of you Mom. You prove how necessary it is to have your friends and family around such times, and isolation doesn’t help. It is natural to have a tendency to withdraw yourself from social activities and contacts, and that’s why you’ve rituals to keep you busy and give you chances to share your emotions. Even if you don’t believe in rituals, socializing and releasing your emotions is a must as a part of the grieving process.

      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and I’m sure it will help others. I appreciate it. :)

  6. Ambika Choudhary Mahajan

    April 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Losing loved ones can indeed be very upsetting. And the irony of it is that we all know that this inspite of the advancements is science and technology, man has no control over 2 phenomena: LIFE & DEATH.

    That knowledge notwithstanding, we find it difficult to cope up with the loss of close ones and can often be led into abysmal sorrow and depression.
    Thanks, Harleena, for sharing the wonderful article here with us.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Welcome to the blog, Ambika!

      I believe there are somethings that should remain a mystery for us, including life and death. Life is a game that you need to play by finding out its rules, and this makes it all the more exciting. Death is the suspense, like any mystery movie – the climax that you never thought of. And, imagine if you knew both beforehand, the rules of life and all about your death, would life remain interesting enough! :)

      Having said that, I agree with you that losing loved ones can indeed be very upsetting. It’s really difficult to cope with such events in life, but some ways do help you do that.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post and give your valuable comment. Hope to see you around. :)

  7. Peggy Lee Hanson

    April 3, 2013 at 12:59 am

    My view of death has evolved over the years. Although I still see it as a sad occasion, someone’s passing has also become a place where growth can occur, especially for those left behind.

    Recently I lost three relatives: a cousin’s wife, aged 52 from the early onset of Alzheimer’s; the other a 93-year-old aunt who just celebrated her birthday the day before she died; and a cousin who was sickly for a long time. How does or can one treat these passings in the same manner? I don’t believe you can. As in life, death is individualistic and should be treated as such. I mourned each differently, too. With my cousin’s wife, I was happy her ordeal ended and her family could move on. With my aunt, I cried, for it meant an end of an era. My cousin was not properly mourned, for family politics got in the way of what should have been a day of celebration and gratitude for her life and gifts she gave to us all.

    I truly enjoyed your post and for giving me a place to share my thoughts. Thank you.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Welcome to the blog, Peggy!

      Death is a sad occasion, no doubt about it. No matter how much you philosophize about it, but the emotions at such events hit you hard. But yes, as you mention, the nature of emotions, your reactions, and ways to cope with differ depending on the people and the situations. You might react differently to the loss of people, even though they all may be your loved ones.

      Having said that, no matter how individualistic your approach to coping with grief and death is, it is essential to release your emotions for quick and proper healing.

      And, of course, you do learn a lot about life from death. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences and wisdom with us all. I hope to see you around. :)

  8. Corina Ramos

    April 3, 2013 at 1:18 am

    It’s been two years since we had a death in the family. I lost a cousin who was deployed in Afghanistan and that made it more difficult for us. Although that was a sad moment for me, the loss of my grandmother was the most difficult. I couldn’t even attend the funeral so I didn’t really get to say goodbye.

    The reason for the different emotions is because I’m definitely one of those who believe when we die we get to be with God, which made it easier for me to accept my cousin’s passing. With my grandmother, I felt I lost everything and lost control of my emotions.

    Sure everyone handles death differently and as best as we can and the advice you share with us today will certainly give anyone struggling with loss a sense of understanding and hopefully start the healing process.

    As always, a beautiful post Harleena :)

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Corina,

      I’m sorry for the loss of loved ones in your family. I can understand that it’s difficult to come to terms to death of a loved one and your inability to be there at that time. Sometimes we develop a feeling of guilt and some part of the sad emotions remain in our heart. And, we need to work to flush out such emotions lest they trouble us later.

      It is really a good coping mechanism to think of our loved ones being with God after death, as that somehow pacifies our turbulent emotions and confused state of mind.

      One needs to go through a healing process and you’re right in that it can be different for different people.

      Thanks for dropping by and taking time to share your personal experiences which I’m sure will benefit all readers. :)

  9. Babanature

    April 3, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Hello Harleena,

    It’s more cold when you lost your loved one, because the hope of seeing him/her next month or next year or this life time is no more there.

    It is almost impossible accepting the of a loved one like when i lost my pops, i almost run nuts because he was my mentor and my best pal. But hey! nothing last forever but as you said; Some event do still bring back old memory and that’s hard to deal with.

    Thanks for bringing up ways we can deal with issues like this and do have a blissful week ahead…

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Babanature,

      Yes, I agree that the inability to see, talk, hear your loved one for the rest of your life is the most disturbing part. And it takes a lot of time to get over this thought and feeling.

      It’s right that nothing lasts forever, but our attachments do and also our memories of association. It is these that cause us most of the pain and suffering. We need some coping mechanisms to deal with our emotions and memories of our loved ones.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us all. I appreciate it.

  10. Bren

    April 3, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Wow! Very deep yet well said Harleena!

    People deal with grief and the loss of a loved one in very different ways. At 11 yrs old, I lost my mother suddenly. As a child, I was traumatized. I stayed home from school, withdrew from friends and activities and become the “Mom” around the house by cooking, cleaning, etc. I lost my best friend and was LOST. It took me quite some time to eventually get back to a “somewhat” norm yet the trauma had scarred me for life…I not only lost my mother, I lost my faith.

    There were other deaths over the years and then in my early 30’s, I lost my father. Another blow for me, however, I handled it much better. I was there in the ER room with my father. I saw his last breaths. I told him “Go be with Mom”. He nodded although not very coherent. That is where he belonged. With her, although him leaving me would leave another void in my life. Til this day, at 44 yrs old, I still wait for that phone call on my birthday. The one that teases me about being an “old” lady, and that says “I love you.” However, I know he is in a much better place and I can not be selfish in wanting him here with me.

    I believe when you die, you go onto a better place. I believe where we are now, is Hell. I believe everyone goes onto that “special” place regardless of their wrong doings. Very interesting post again. It really makes one think on life and of life lost.

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Bren,

      I’m glad you like the post. It is deep but shallow enough for everybody to understand and relate to our lives.

      You’ve gone through a lot in life, and that too from such a young age. I can understand how difficult and traumatic it would’ve been going through after you lost your mom. And, I guess you’re too young at that time to really and deeply understand death and cope with it.

      I lost my mom when I was big enough, and though it was very hard on me, but I could manage it, like you did when your father passed away. I too was with my mom when she breathed her last. Now, when I think of it, I feel at least I was blessed to be there at that time because some people never get to be with their loved ones at the time of their death.

      And you know what, my mother passed away just a day before my birthday. For years I could never really celebrate my birthday.

      You mentioned one important aspect that sometimes we become selfish to want our loved ones to be with us, even after they are dead. We find it difficult to let go of our attachment, and that is what creates more suffering and problems.

      I think it really helps to believe that our loved ones go to a better place after their life tenure here on Earth. I think hell or heaven are the reflections of our state of mind, and it depends on our perspective. But we do think that if we compare our life to the one after death, our life seems to be like hell, even if we don’t know what happens after death. At least this thought helps us cope with the loss of our loved one.

      Thanks for taking time to share your personal experiences and thoughts about life, loss of life and death and life in general. It really contributes to the post and certainly would helps others. :)

  11. Mayura

    April 3, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Life is uncertain while death is a certain :)

    I almost feeling lucky to have loved ones with me even my grandparents :) I mean those who were closer to me though I lost few relatives when I was a baby, but have no memories with me though.

    However right now my life is nearly perfect with everyone around as I know in future I’ll have to let loved ones to end their life journey. It always comes into my mind when Vidya reminds of her mother, Brenda talks about her mother, Adrienne talks about her father and even when you talk about your mother in this post.

    I think I can’t feel that pain enough as I have my parents now :) Also when it comes to friends in my age group, they have loved ones around too and never talk about missing someone either.

    The loved one I lost was my puppy :) I know, it may be nothing compared to losing a parent, but yet it hurts. Had no one after then either. I’m lost in his memories. When I come across a pic of puppy and read a blog about some doggy actions, it just remind me of mine. The best is, all of ‘em are not sad memories but the moments I enjoyed with him. You know, love is very strange and strong. I feel positive that way :) May be someone can be negative too, no?

    Thank you for tips on coping with a loss Harleena :) They will be helpful though we might have no control over it at first. I have the feeling that my lifestyle will change so much when my mother is not around. I’ve been taking snaps of my mother lately and she asked why? ;) But they won’t be just photos someday.

    Very true :) Understanding death is a better approach, but very hard I guess.

    As once you stated about a busy father, we might never know when we will have to go. So better enjoy moments and express it before it’s too late.

    Who knows, I’m just alive and commenting ;) Already planned to make mine 100 years and let’s see :D lol…

    Ah… I was thinking of taking action on donating my organs and better do it sooner too. Thanks for reminder Harleena ;)

    May you have a long and healthy life with all your loved ones around :)

    Cheers…

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Mayura,

      Death is as certain as the rising of Sun. We all have to face the death of our loved ones, some or the other time. That is why, it is so important to be with our loved ones, enjoy their company, and help them as much as we can.

      You’re lucky to be with all your loved ones, and I’m sure you’ll make sure that you’re left with good memories of them all.

      Even the death of a pet is not easy to cope with if you’re really very attached to it, and more so, if it is a part of your life and daily routine in some way or the other. On the other hand, we’ve longer, finer, and deeper attachments with our parents and loved ones, and their loss hurts more.

      The way you’ve coped with the loss of your puppy by remembering the moments you enjoyed and the good times is really the way to cope with the loss of your loved ones too. There should be no sad memories, but you should preserve the good memories and the love. You’re right, it is definitely your choice to be positive or negative.

      Though it depends from person to person, but generally it is healing to let your emotions flow free at the loss of your loved one, and there’s no need to control them. Your lifestyle may or may not change, again this is very subjective. Yes, memories are best preserved with photos and videos.

      Since death is a part of our life, understanding it is a wise choice. As we learn to cope with life, we also need to learn to cope with the death of our loved ones.

      It is true, Mayura, that there’s no certainty we’ll live tomorrow or see the sunrise. That is why the wise say to live your today as if it were the last day of your life. Enjoy your life, be with your loved ones, and be good. I think you’ve learned your lessons of life well and early, and they’ll surely help you as you grow old.

      Donating organs is a noble thing to do. I read somewhere that donations from one body can actually save about 30-40 lives! There are so many parts in our body, and there are so many people who’re in need of them.

      I wish you live long and keep the blogosphere good by having your presence in it. :)

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, reflections, and personal experiences about life, death, and coping with death – you might’ve already helped a few readers! :)

  12. sapna

    April 3, 2013 at 4:27 am

    HI Harleena Di,

    I’ve gone through this and it really creates a void in life which at times is difficult to fill. I can easily remember – it brings life upside down no matter how strong a person is. It hardly matters what the religion says but at that moment there is nothing which can prevent from you from crying.

    My mother was suffered from cancer and she has to go through the hell and in the end, I could easily recall when doctors said you have to be strong enough and pray that she passes in peace. I still remember the sad end.

    My father had a peaceful end though – the reasons still unknown, in the morning I asked him about the tea and he nodded but when I came back with the tea he was no more. Doctors said it was because of heart attack, we never went through the port mortem etc so really don’t know the reasons.

    I’m reading this post in the morning at 4:00am, I really don’t know what the day has in store for me.

    Di I missed your interview on sbabzy, will be moving in there.

    Sapna

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      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Sapna,

      I can’t agree with you more. Loss of a loved one really turns our life upside down and creates a void. Crying is therapeutic and good under such circumstances as it helps you release your sad emotions and anxieties. But then it’s different for different people – some do not feel the need to cry, while some suppress their feeling to cry.

      I’m sorry about the loss of your mother and the suffering she had to go through. My mother too succumbed to cancer and I can relate to your feelings.

      Diabetes is known as a silent killer, and sometimes people are not even aware if they are suffering from it. I’m sorry it must have been a shock for you when your father passed away like this.

      Yes, it’s true – we don’t know what’s in store for us in the very next moment, leave alone the day or the next day. That is what your life should be full of Aha!NOW – rejoicing every moment of life! :)

      This is my sister’s favorite punch line – kal ho na ho!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views and personal experiences about the loss of our loved ones. I appreciate it.

  13. Vishnu

    April 3, 2013 at 5:06 am

    HI Harleena – honestly not had very close relatives pass away. The hardest deaths were probably my grandparents. I am learning more about grief and death, however, and will only be able to deal with those when they arise and hopefully not any time soon:) I think what we can do with those alive is to be engaged with them and appreciate them as much as we can so we don’t regret the opportunities we missed in their passing.

    Also, as you point out, embracing and coming to term with griefs is probably key for most people to move on and something we tend to sulk in for some time or even avoid. Only once we can experience,share and embrace grief, can we find the tools to move on with our lives.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Vishnu,

      Nice to have you back. I wish you don’t need to learn and deal with death and grief any sooner; however, I believe it’s better to be prepared than to be caught unawares.

      You’ve really cracked the million dollar puzzle with your statement – What we can so with those alive is to engage with them and appreciate them as much as we can. This serves us with a double purpose – no regrets of missing opportunities of being together, and treasuring good and positive memories to help us cope with loss later. :)

      Yes, that’s right – we need to accept and embrace, and come to terms with the reality after the loss of a loved one, and then move on with life.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this post. I appreciate it. :)

  14. Gladys

    April 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Hello Harleena

    Death a topic not everyone likes to talk about. I am so glad you shared your knowledge and input in this matter, simply because this is something we will all experience. I experienced the death of two of my brothers and then seven years ago, my mom passed and three years ago, we lost my dad. The passing of my mom was a traumatic experience, but I created so many memories with her.

    Like you mentioned… no matter our faith, we still need to find peace in death. Everyone does handle these kind of emotions differently.
    I learned something…. we can never take anyone for granted.

    Thank you again for sharing your heart with the world.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Gladys,

      Yes, death is and will be a common experience to all and I’m glad you’re open enough and receptive to talk about it.

      I’m sorry for the loss of loved ones in your life; you did go through a lot. Good memories do help you better cope with the loss, isn’t it? When I remember my mom, I do not feel any pain, as I cherish her sweet memories and my love for her remains that fills me with positivity.

      I believe that it doesn’t matter how you handle the emotions when your loved one dies, you just need to handle them, and release them, in positive ways.

      True, Gladys – never take for granted any person or moment – they can go and not come back. The secret to good life forever is to celebrate the loved ones and the moments of life that you have. I hope you agree.

      Thanks for taking time to stop and comment on this post and share your thoughts and personal experiences. :)

  15. Chathu

    April 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Dear Harleena,

    Honestly, I remembered my loved ones while am reading this. And I got tears too. Because I lost my two brothers(fursibilings)and a close friend too.

    Death of a loved ones, make us very upset and feel like our lives gonna stop. But it isn’t. As you said, it’s better we accept the death and face it. If we accept someday we also have to leave. And as a Buddhist, I believe reborn after death and if we live better, we’ll have better lives and will not die in young ages.

    This is a good post Harleena, Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Hi Chathu,

      I’m sorry if my post disturbed you and touched sensitive and emotional memories of loved ones in your life.

      Yes, it’s true – sometimes death of a loved one with whom we’re very attached makes us feel like we’ve lost everything and we lose the reason and will to live. But these are just intense emotions that should be released, and thoughts that need to be confronted to accept and embrace the change in life.

      The concept of re-birth is there in many religions including Buddhism, and along with the philosophy of karma, it provides a good reason to live in the right way and cope with the loss of a loved one.

      Thanks for dropping by and contributing to the post by sharing your thoughts and experiences. :)

  16. Shalu Sharma

    April 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    You know this is something I don’t even want to think about it. It really saddens my heart to even think about mourning. I just hope that I do not have to go through this ever but lets face it, we are mortal beings and one day or the other we have to face it, death is just the beginning.

    Spirituality can help but not all of them believe in it so just like you say they will have to get along with their life.
    Accepting that their loved one has gone forever is the biggest hurdle. Somehow they must accept and move on.

    Its one of those things I do not know much about and hope I do not have to either.
    But I do always here that someone or the other has passed away and I wonder how their families cope with it.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Hi Shalu,

      I know it’s scary and sad to think of death, but we can’t evade this fact and reality of life forever. You know, many years ago I once read Arundhati Roy’s “God of small things” and a short excerpt got imprinted in my memory forever, which goes like: anything can happen at anytime; be prepared for everything.

      I agree that spiritual and religious beliefs help you cope with the loss of a loved one. They make the acceptance easy, which as you say is the biggest hurdle; the rest then happens on its own.

      I guess when you’re in the situation, then you’ve no way out but to accept and follow the natural course and the path where it takes you. And, you eventually cope with the loss of your loved one, and people might only differ in the time they take to complete cope with the loss.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts and views on this important issue of life. I appreciate it. :)

  17. Hiten

    April 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    This was an excellent post on a very important topic. Death is part and parcel of being human and it is good to read your advice on how to deal with the death of a loved one.

    I’ve lost my grandfather, grandmother, uncles, an aunt and a cousin in the past. Death is never easy. However, as I was reading your post, it made me realise just how important and healthy the grieving process.

    We need to do things like cry and talk about our loved one who we have just lost. Such things help us to accept what has happened and move on.

    Thank you.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Hi Hiten,

      I’m glad you like the post. Yes, death is a part of our life, and not only humans, but every thing and being dies; even the stars have to face death! I mean not the celebrities, but the stars that we see in the sky! ;)

      You’ve have been through many such events in your life, and you know exactly what happens and how it feels like. Yet, it’s not easy. You do need to carefully go through the grieving process.

      Grieving process is definitely healthy and important. Traditionally, there are rituals in Indian villages where the members of the bereaved family are literally made to cry so they release all their pent up emotions and feelings. It looks bad, but does good to the sufferer.

      Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and adding value to the discussion. :)

  18. Lori Gosselin

    April 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    While I believe some steps and phases are valuable to recognize and follow, I feel most strongly that the grieving process must be organic. We are unique in everything so why should this not be so for grieving.

    This is comprehensive post on death. I especially love the quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. So true if we can but remember it.
    Lori

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Lori,

      I agree with you that every person has the right to choose the grieving process that suits him or her, as far as it’s healthy and does not negatively impact the self or others.

      It is good if the process is organic and happens at a normal pace. However, if the process extends to abnormal lengths, or gets stuck due to depression, then it does more harm than good. In such cases, one should take external help to take charge and find ways to resolve things and move on with life.

      It’s memories of loved ones that we treasure, and we need to make them good and happy. I personally believe that it helps the loved ones move on with their process after death if we let them go.

      I’m glad you took out time and came over to the blog and commented on this post. I hope it helps you move forward with your life. Know that my heart was with you when I was writing this post. Thank you. :)

  19. Corinne Rodrigues

    April 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I honestly don’t know how I will cope with the loss of a very dear loved one, Harleena as I’ve been lucky so far. I can understand though how these deaths can make us more mindful, compassionate and loving. This is a tough topic, but you’ve dealt with it with such thoughtfulness. ♥

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      April 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Corinne,

      You’ll be able to cope up when you face with such eventuality in future. Mostly, it’s an automated process that is helped by the support of family and friends, and your own beliefs. However, it does take its own time.

      The most important lesson we learn from the death of a loved one is that we should pay importance on what we’re left with rather than what is lost.

      I’m glad you did not find this post as disturbing and took it in the right spirit. Thanks so much for coming over and commenting. I really appreciate that. :)

  20. Deone Higgs

    April 4, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Tis true, Harleena! Death is an extremely difficult part of life for each of us. There’s simply no way to prepare one’s self for it, even when it is clearly bound to take place.

    At the time, when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer almost 7 years ago, I thought I would get myself adjusted to her not being around. Towards her early diagnosis, I would cut my time short whenever I went home for visits for that reason alone. The closer the time drew, and the weaker she became, I realized how ludicrous my idea was and the time I had thrown away so negligently. I would not make the same mistake with my mother’s diagnosis a few years later.

    You’re absolutely right though, allowing ourselves to grieve and feel the emotions we are going to feel from such loss, is a critical part of grieving. Humanity has tried so hard to steer clear of feeling pain, when even pain has its place in the world.

    Sometimes things have to fall apart before they can get put back together again.

    Thoughtful post, mi lady. Thank you for sharing it so eloquently.

  21. Carolyn

    April 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Hi Harleena, As you know, like you, I lost my mother to cancer, but her death was many years ago when I was young. The best advice I would have for someone is exactly what you so beautifully said, “Imagine if it were you who died, you would never want your loved ones to spend the rest of their life crying or grieving over you?”

    My father is very healthy now but I know I will have to face his death some day and I’m not sure how I will be able to handle that…

  22. Amandah

    April 4, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Hi Harleena

    That was a beautiful post.

    I view death as the cycle of life. Unless you’re immortal like a vampire, you are going to die.

    When someone dies, I pray for them and their family, but I believe the person who died is not truly dead. I believe their soul has transitioned into another state. What is that state? I have no idea. But I don’t believe we truly die.

    I’ve always had a problem with going to funerals, especially as a kid. I never knew what to say because if the person suffered, I felt he or she was probably at peace. I think funerals are more for the living anyway.

    If you can think of death as the beginning of something else, you may be able to cope with it better.

    Celebrate your loved ones because they are still with you, spiritually speaking.

  23. Neamat Tawadrous

    April 4, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Hi Harleena,

    This is my first time in your blog and it is my first time to read a post about death since I started blogging and visiting blogs, 3 months ago.

    This is a very thoughtful post and a topic that needs to be considered. We always like to talk about life which is uncertain but we never want to talk about death which is certain and a fact of life that we have to face.

    I think it is easier to accept the death of a loved one if they are suffering and you are expecting their death but what I find harder is the sudden death. I lost my mother 15 years ago suddenly without any glimpse of warning. It was the hardest thing that happened to me in my entire life. It was very hard to accept. Few weeks ago, I lost my mother-in-law. She was very sick and we all expected that her journey on earth is coming to an end and sometimes if you have a loved one that is suffering you pray that they pass in peace and suffer no more.

    For sure everyone handles death differently and as much as we can and following your steps of how to cope with the loss of a loved one, will certainly give us a sense of understanding and hopefully move on with the healing process.

    Thanks Harleena for such a great and thoughtful post.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

  24. Jodi

    April 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I think people find moving on to be threatening or disrespectful to their loved one, this is why they resist it so much. I try to use different language which can have the same result you speak about but seems to make it easier to do.

  25. Priya N

    April 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Its very inspiring article & really gives us courage to deal with the loss of our loved ones. But despite knowing everything, when we lose our loved one, we don’t have any control on our mind & we don’t want to accept this. It takes time for life to come to normal.

  26. Annie André

    April 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Excellent post that hit a raw nerve for sure and I am very sorry about the loss of your mother. I’ve lost my mother in a violent bus accident in Thailand when I was a child, my step-mother who raised me was murdered, and my father was killed and run over by trying to step in front of a robbers getaway car.

    Talking about death hurts and scares me and to be honest I felt the only way to deal with death is to mourn, to cry a lot and let all your emotions flow. If you try to be stoic and push down your feelings, the healing can never begin. Or at least that is how it was for me.

    Thanks for very deep post Harleena.

  27. Ashley Porter

    April 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Harleena – this is an interesting topic you write about.

    Death is inevitable part of life and there are so many feelings surrounding it (especially when we experience it through a close friend or loved one passing away). Some may experience it first hand with terminal illness and have negative emotions on approaching end of their life.

    I do think your tips will help especially getting support and continuing to enjoy the time that we do have to live despite the negative feelings of death.

    Death, dying, end of life doesn’t necessarily have to have only negative emotions associated with it. It can be a time of remembrance, reflection of life, and journey to heaven/afterlife.

  28. Hajra

    April 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I lost a friend when a few years back and it took some time to get over it. For me, time is the biggest healer. I know its cliche but I have experienced that you learn to deal with it over time. That’s how it worked for me at least. :)

  29. Debbie

    April 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Hi Harleena. You did hit a topic that is part of living. You live, pay taxes and die.

    I have lost parents, a sister, all aunts and uncles, classmate when I was 14, friends as a teen, but that is ok, I shall see them again one day.

    Yes, i miss the people I have mentioned, but there memory lives on in my heart. The only problem I had when my mother died, is that as she got sicker maybe I should have done things different. After awhile I realized I did the best that i could.

    My faith does get me through these time. Great dicussion going one Harleena.

    Debbie

  30. Adrienne

    April 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I am the worse person to give advice on this subject Harleena because you know from what I’ve shared with you I did not take my Dad’s passing very well and went into a deep depression for about two years. Not a good time for me at all but so glad that’s way behind me.

    Unfortunately, I lost a loved one just yesterday. My brother’s mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly. Of course she had Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home but she’d only been there about three years now. She was only 76 and not ill so to get that call was very shocking for us all. My nephew, of course, is off working on the cruise ship so they had to track him down and he’ll be flying in this Saturday.

    I knew her for over 30 years now so she was part of the family. It’s just a very sad time for everyone but we know that she’s in a much better place because she hated living like that. Six of her brother’s and sisters had the same disease and she use to tell us she did not want to live like that. I can’t even imagine so I’m so sad she’s gone but she’s really been gone for awhile now. She hasn’t known any of us for the past two years.

    Great post on this subject Harleena and I’m sure it will be very helpful for many who have to deal with this as well. It’s just inevitable unfortunately. It’s part of life.

    ~Adrienne

  31. Tim Bonner

    April 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Harleena

    My father-in-law passed away a couple of years ago and I know it really affected my wife.

    She’s very strong though and didn’t really show it on the outside. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing though.

    We do talk about him and her loss and I know when it comes around to his birthday, it brings everything back to her again.

    I’m lucky in that both my parents are relatively young. I have no idea how I will cope when they pass away.

    Hopefully I will be okay but I’m sure it will come as a big shock to the system.

  32. Sue Neal

    April 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    As always, you’ve offered sound advice in this post.

    I’ve experienced a lot of close bereavements, all of them difficult and two were particularly traumatic sudden deaths. I think the first thing I’d say is it’s always a shock – nothing can prepare you for it, even if you’re expecting someone to die. In the aftermath of a bereavement, people often talk about the fact that it ‘puts everything into perspective’ and imagine it’s going to make them appreciate life all the more and transform them into better people, but in my experience that soon fades and we quickly revert to our old selfish ways – so when the next person dies, chances are there’ll still be lots of ‘if only’ regrets for us to come to terms with, because we’re human and fallible.

    I think the best way to deal with death is to be prepared for it – to think about it, talk about it, stare it in the face, recognise that we really aren’t immortal and that we’re all going to die someday. Reflecting on our own death is a really healthy thing to do – also on the death of those close to us. It may sound morbid, but I really do believe it helps to be realistic and face up to that reality. It’ll still be a shock when it happens, but maybe we’ll be a little better equipped to deal with it.

    I read a great blog post recently that talked about treating everyone we meet as if they didn’t have very long to live – I think that’s a lovely idea. We take each other for granted and that’s why we often struggle when someone dies – all those things we wish we had or hadn’t done or said.

    If you are plagued by those kind of regrets, I’d say you’ve got to forgive yourself and move on – sinking into despair and self-recrimination won’t help the person who’s died and it will make life a misery, not just for you but for those close to you who have to deal with your depression.

    I’d also say that death teaches you not to base your happiness on other people – there’s always the chance you’ll lose someone, so don’t bank on them being around forever. You need to find other sources of joy and meaning in your life. It saddens me when I hear about people who’ve been bereaved spending the rest of their lives grieving – what a waste of life.

    Sorry if that’s a bit of a ramble – a subject close to my heart :)

    Sue

  33. Koj T. Tajo

    April 6, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Hey Harleena, Great piece! You dont have to be sorry when you write this kind of post. Its been 10 years now, when our mom left us and we were regarded as an orphan. Tears ……while commenting. But hats off for understanding the human behavior so deeply. Wish you all the happiness for this post. Respect is all yours.

  34. Susan Ekins

    April 6, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Harleena, thanks for posting about a difficult subject. My Mom passed away a year ago and I was surprised at how hard it was for me. It would have been even more difficult if I had regrets. I am thankful that at least I had said certain things like “I love you,” and “I’m sorry.” We never know when we will lose someone so it’s best to say such things.
    At holidays and family get-togethers, there’s no one of the generation above me. My husband’s parents and mine are all gone.

  35. Ankit

    April 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I am yet wondering that I’ve read article. I was amazed by the quality of writing of this one. You rock.

  36. Dita - BloggingSpree

    April 7, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Losing a loved one is always very hard and sad as well. I’ve lost both my parents in 2011 and despite the fact that they were older still, it seemed so unfair. I miss them every day.

    Time heals, however, and eventually the pain weakens. We still think about them, but the overwhelming sadness is gone. The thought are different, more like just beautiful memories. I know this from first hand experience.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us.

    Dita

  37. B K chowla

    April 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Those who lose their loved ones are the only ones who feel the pain. What is most surprising is that the first question they ask “How old was he” and make a face depending upon the age of the one, one has lost.

    Damn it, we all will age.

  38. Joy Healey

    April 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Thanks for a very comforting post Harleena.

    I lost my partner a few months ago to cancer, and though we SHOULD have been prepared, we weren’t, so I’m finding it very hard to cope.There are silly things like redefining who I am. With another couple of friends John and I were a foursome. Now he’s not there and it’s as if I don’t really belong any more – although my two friends are being very kind.

    Your thoughts have been helpful and comforting to me. Thanks.Joy

  39. Mariem

    April 24, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Awesome article !

    Thanks for sharing :) ;)

  40. Keith

    October 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    There will be so many similarities in how each of us deals with death, but also so many individual factors. We can only find our own way. What is important is that each of us does deal with it, as hard as that may be.

    What stood out for me most in your sensitively written post was “I understand your feeling that there’s no sensible way to deal with the loss of a loved one. But it makes sense to deal with such situation and carry on with life”.

    If anything, death reminds us of the value of life. When my Dad passed away last year he left me with so many important messages about living life and the importance of this. Not because he said anything, but because his death gave me cause to reflect and a reminder to me to live, truly live.

    It is a taboo subject for many, but I feel it is something that we should discuss more in the open. We can’t hide from it as it affects us all at some point in our lives – no exceptions.

    Thanks for a heartfelt, thought-provoking and respectful post.

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