Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other – Leo Buscaglia
Death shouldn’t be a scary topic, instead, it should be a guide for everyone to strive to live a fulfilling life, treasure the gift that is called life, the people we love and make the world a better place.
With each passing day, I want to live my best and die empty with no regret.
On the 13th of July,2019. I received the most heartbreaking news of the demise of my dad. Suddenly I wasn’t just mourning my dad, I was freshly mourning my mom again even though it’s been four years.
The last time I was physically in the same room with my dad was 2017, which was the last time I visited home and video calls are not the same as being present.
I hated myself for living abroad, guilt consumed me and I wept uncontrollably for days, weeks and even now. Because instead of a visit to my dad this year, I will be attending his funeral.
I was never going to see my dad again, I couldn’t breathe and found myself being taken to the hospital as I was having severe chest pain.
People expect you to get over grief within a week and at the latest two weeks but grief is not the same feeling of a boyfriend breaking up with his girlfriend.
Everyone grieves at a different pace and there is no timeline to when a person stops grieving. Someone like my dad stopped talking about my mom and occasionally mention how difficult it was not having her around.
How I Feel
The death of a loved one is devastating, heartbreaking and no word can describe the pain. Losing both my parents within a short space of years is paralyzing and beyond devastating.
I find myself crying on many occasions, even on the underground tube, at work, in the middle of the night, all the colors around me have turned grey and the bond I once shared with them is broken.
It’s not the same feeling of losing your keys, sunglasses or a car, these ones can be replaced but the loss of a parent is irreplaceable.
I have become desperate to hear my dad’s voice and had the last video I recorded from my last visit in 2017 on repeat.
These days I can’t sleep and wake up dreading the thought of my dad really being dead.
How To Show Support
So many people often say, but I have not lost a parent so I don’t know what to say. You don’t have to lose a loved one before you can show sympathy.
- Send a condolence message, avoid sending just the ️smiley as it doesn’t mean anything.
- Allowing a person who is grieving to honestly speak out about their feelings can help with the grief process.
- Show empathy; the person is still in shock, denial and finding it hard to accept the news.
- Let them know they are not alone; with losing both parents, I have felt so lonely for the past one month.
- Check up on them: the truth is depression is so easy to set in with grief. leave a voice message or message even if you don’t get a reply.
- In the workplace, managers need to reassure employees that work comes second and their mental health first.
- Encourage them to consider seeing a counselor.
- Allow them to cry, crying should not be a taboo.
- Be a listener; it is an opportunity to allow someone grieving to pour out their mind.
- Follow up with them especially during the death anniversary. ( The first few weeks and the first year is always difficult)
- Send bible scripture and pray for their peace.
- Visit, send condolences card, flowers and food.99% of the time, the last thing on their mind is self-care or cooking. Personally, I spent two weeks in bed and didn’t even want to leave my room or eat.
- This is the time to show them your friendship isn’t only in the good times. ( let them know you’re going to be with them through thick and thin) the truth is, you don’t have to understand but you can show support.
The Don’ts of Grief
- Avoiding a person that has been bereaved is not a good practice.
- Being nosey should be avoided, as much as possible, resist the urge of asking about the cause of death, this is personal information.
- Don’t expect a person to be okay after a week or two or even months.
- Don’t give them a deadline to when they need to stop grieving. Grieving never ends, you only find a way to manage the absence of the loved one.
- Do not define their grief (The pain a person experiences can’t be defined).
- Don’t add more burden and pain by asking if the departed was a born again Christian ( leave the judging for Jesus).
- Don’t speak ill of the deceased.
- Assuming a young adult can handle the loss of their parents is not a good reason to neglect them. (When I lost my mom, everyone that came to pay their condolences was mainly focused on my mom’s dad and forgetting she was survived by her husband and children).
- Sympathy should not be limited to just the parents but everyone called family.
- Don’t be afraid to speak about their loved one, it means the memory of the departed lives on.
- Burial plans should not be the first thing discussed when a person has just lost a loved one. (Give them at least a week before discussing funeral plans).
- Avoid asking them if they feel better now. ( The pain from a loss does not disappear overnight! Instead, use words like “how are you holding up”).
- There is nothing like parents becoming angels after death, let’s avoid words like; you have now gained an angel.
Things that can easily uplift a person who has been bereaved.
- Words of hope.
- I will be thinking of you and praying that God’s grace and peace will be with you at this difficult time.
- I want you to know you’re not alone and I am thinking of you.
- Let them know you’re happy to just stay on the other side of the phone and listen to them or keep them company.
- Be that person who shows up weeks after everyone has forgotten the person who is grieving. ( A lot of people stop after a day or even a week or even after the burial).
I want to use this post to thank everyone that has been there for me; your show of love, prayers, and condolences messages are greatly appreciated.
I wouldn’t forget this kindness in a hurry.