Death is a really complex topic, especially since everyone handles it differently. We can be affected by death whether it's someone we know personally or someone who was an idol for many. The feelings that accompany the loss of someone may take some time to fade or they may never go away. Death even affects us when it's someone who caused pain in our lives because of all the reoccurring emotions and memories that can come up. I'm writing this post to help anyone who's having difficulty coping or just needs some insight on how to look at things from a different perspective.
If it was someone you knew personally and they had a good impact on your life, first ask yourself these questions:
- What were some lessons they've taught you?
-What are some memories that stick out more to you than others and why?
-How can you take on some of their positive traits?
- What are some things you can do to honor them?
Secondly, whenever you start to miss them, try to remember it's because something is missing from your life and it's making you think of them. Yes, quite obviously it's the person you're thinking about who's missing, but what did they provide for you? For example, when I miss my dad I try to remind myself of the role he played in my life. He was someone who gave me new experiences, someone I traveled I with, someone who made me feel safe and someone I laughed a lot with. So when I find myself missing him a lot more than usual I know it's because I'm either too stuck in routine and haven't done anything for my own enjoyment in awhile, or I need to see new places and plan a small weekend escape, or I'm just not feeling safe or secure. If I'm not feeling safe, then I investigate further why and what I can do to feel safety/security again. So if you're missing a parent, grandparent, other relative, friend, mentor or anyone else you were close to, remember that most of that is because it's what they provided that you're missing and you should try to find ways to give that to yourself now. And, I know it's cliche, but they are with you in spirit. They are part of you because they contributed to shaping you. So whenever you feel emptiness because you're missing them, you need to ignite that part of your personality that they most contributed to.
If it's someone who you didn't know personally but they had a positive effect on a lot of people, including you, then ask yourself these questions:
-What do they represent to you and how can you embody that in your life?
-How did they inspire you and how can you still use that inspiration, despite them being gone?
-How were they able to impact so many people and what can you do to make your own impact, even if it's small scale?
It's always hard when you lose a role model you didn't know personally because you still felt a close connection. That's not unusual. Anyone who knows me knows Kid Cudi is my biggest role model. We've never met but we had a lot of the same experiences and how he carries himself and communicates to the world inspires me to continue being a better person each and every day. If he were to pass away I would be devastated. But it would be a reminder to me that not everyday is promised so what can I do to make the most of the days I do have? How can I put my best foot forward and inspire the people around me? Most of our role models have passions and they excelled in those passions. So how can you stay passionate and continue to work towards the life you want? Are you being your true genuine self? It's important to reflect on these things and that's how you can cope with that loss.
Now, if it's someone who caused a lot of pain in your life but their death is making you feel a lot of different things, ask yourself these questions:
-Now that this person is gone, how can you better heal from the pain they've caused?
- What are some traits of this person that you don't want to have and how can you work towards being a better person?
-How did their death make you think about the life they've lived?
-How can you live a better life overall and correct your own wrongs? No one is 100% innocent and pure. We've all done something bad. This also doesn't mean you need to apologize to every single person you've ever done something wrong to. It just means what can you do now to prove you're not like that anymore.
This type of death is hard for different reasons. For one, maybe this person wasn't terrible to everyone in their life so other people have a good view on them while your view is negative. Don't focus on the positive things being said about this person. For one, they passed away so it's a traditional practice to say good things about them. For two, how other people view this person isn't going to take away from what this person has done to you. What happened, still happened. If you're still affected by it, you need to heal in whatever way you see the most fit and healthy. Don't worry about what other people are saying. One person can be loved and hated by many for different reasons. They didn't experience and perceive the same things as you. What they think or say doesn't matter.
Another reason why it's difficult is because it can trigger bad memories and thoughts. But that's where you remind yourself that you're safe now. And if you need support working through that, you can visit my post about healing from past trauma. Other feelings that can come up are anger, rage, feeling like you didn't get the justice you deserved, etc. That's when you have to let go. Holding onto that isn't helping you. What's going to help you is moving forward and applying those bad experiences into positive outlets.
Overall, death is hard and it takes time to mourn and cope with it. Don't be hard on yourself or think that there's an expected time to "get over it." Also, don't think there's a universal way to deal with it either. However, if it's starts to impair your daily functioning in different areas, then you need to seek more support. Don't go through these things alone because you don't have to. There are a variety of resources, including friends or family, therapy, support groups, and more. Look at your options and live your life the best way you can.