Dealing with tragedy away from home

It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.

In a world full of people, differences outweigh similarities. These likenesses include things like laughter, family and pain. This post will be focusing on the latter and how to deal with it while away from home.

Tragedy strikes with no rhyme or reason. There is no pattern or enigma when it comes to tragedy. The thing to remember when tragedy occurs is everyone deals with it a different way. I am the type of person who cries at everything. I hold funerals for beetles and have memorials for pets. I am a sensitive person who feels everything; good and bad. When tragedy hits my life, I find it helps to process things out loud with only my closest friend(s) to listen. I seek religious reason and read my bible. I spend time by myself thinking and reflecting. Sometimes I go to members of the clergy to seek answers. The point of this rant is to understand that there is no right or wrong way to process grief. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions are a common union. We all feel.

How to cope with tragedy away from home:

  1. Tragedy means something different to everyone. A family member falls ill, a beloved one passes away, a parent loses their job, a pet dies. Everyone feels saddened by something. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Do not apologize for your emotions. They are real and valid even if you cannot make sense of them. First step in dealing with tragedy away from home is acknowledging your feelings. Validate them. Once you do that you will be closer to grieving and moving on from the tragedy.
  2. Once you have acknowledged your feelings you can start to figure out why you feel that way. (It sounds silly but some people don’t know why they feel a certain way). Did your parent lose a job and now you feel like the burden is on you? Did a sick family member pass away and you felt like you should have been there instead? Did your parents divorce and you feel like you were powerless to stop it? Figure out why you are feeling this way. Why the tragedy impacted you the way it did.
  3. When you learn where your feelings come from you can start to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. It isn’t black and white. There are multiple ways and multiple steps for grieving. For example: When I grieve, I first like to be by myself. I need to process whats happened. After that, I eat. Like really eat. And not the good stuff, but the bad stuff. Chocolate, pizza, burritos. Usually after I grieve about the tragedy I grieve about my waistline. (Wrong time for a joke?) after my feast, I talk to people I trust and who i know can weigh in on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I need someone to listen and not say anything and other times I need someone to speak the words I can’t fathom myself. After that I can usually start getting back into the old swing of things. The length and time of grief isn’t set in stone. Some people take longer than others.
  4. Post mourning period doesn’t mean the grief is over. People often live with grief for years, tucked neatly away in the back of their mind. Sometime grief never goes away. My nana and pops lost one of their children. A couple of years ago I interviewed my nana for a school assignment and she cried at the mention of her late daughters name. Sometimes grief never goes away. Sometimes you learn to live with it and learn to carry on your everyday life with a shadow following your every move. Don’t be afraid to seek a therapist or professional help. Plenty of people see counselors just to deal with the hardships of everyday life. If your grief follows you like a shadow, please seek professional help.
  5. Sadness isn’t a walk in the park. It isn’t easy. It’s no picnic. But remember, you will smile again. And when you do, don’t be afraid. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t make what you went through any less real or your loss any less difficult. What happened was real. But the world will keep turning if you smile or enjoy yourself or have fun.

I have my nana and pops, my stepdads parents and my gran and grandpa, my mothers parents. I am very close to my gran. I am close to her because I wasn’t overly close with my grandpa. It still hurt when he left us. It hurt my mother even more. My mom is a daddy’s girl. She was so close with my grandpa. She had a very hard time with the loss of my grandpa. Holidays and his birthday and trips to see my Gran are still hard for her. She grieved and she felt her loss. But she still smiles, she still enjoys life and sees its value. Nothing can last forever, not the good and certainly not the bad. Remember that your hard time will pass. **

*I am not a professional therapist. I STRONGLY recommend seeing a professional when you experience loss no matter the degree. 

*This post was inspired by a beautiful and kind family of angels in my town who loss one of their sons in 2010 and most recently another one this past July. Please pray for the Ellsessar Family. 

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