亗America2K亗 describes a time when she had to come face to face with her biggest fear….
Dread…to anticipate with great apprehension or fear. That sinking feeling inside…a feeling all of us have felt at various times in our lives. When I was 7 years old, I distinctly remember the feeling of dread I felt when I learned about life and death. That by “natural order,” my Mother and Father would die one day. Nonetheless, one thought my psyche would not fathom was the death of my siblings nor of myself…much less a child of mine. And though the death of my Father in 2007 left me numb for a while, it was a kind of numbness I thought would never end. Yet the sharp pain that accompanied that numbness left eventually, but the memories that followed still follow me on an almost daily basis.
Yet while I was still trying to make sense of the grief I felt over losing my father, the unfathomable happened in 2014. My Mother, though still vital and lively in her senior years, suddenly passed away. What made it sudden was that we had a full day together that ended in laughter…a phenomenon that wasn’t always the case in our family’s household.
Because my mom lived with me and my family, we often ate together. However, the day before she passed, my mother had asked for a meal a little later than normal…all before heading off to sleep.
It was me who found my mother passed away in her bed. She had her Bible by her side; her plate was clean and also placed by her bedside (and no, my food was not the cause of my mother’s death).
Upon discovering that my mother had passed away, it seemed that what followed was like a dream…The police came to investigate my mother’s death because it was standard procedure to do so whenever a death occurs in someone’s home. Sometime later, the funeral home came to pick my mom up, and all of this was followed with the planning of my mother’s service, as well as planning for my mother’s second service, which was an honor I had to insure was upheld because it would take place in her hometown…the same place where she would be buried.
As I recall the events surrounding my mother’s death, I have come to the realization that though it happened, I am living what I dreaded all my life: the death of both parents. I know that I am not the only one who has experienced this; there are others out there that may have not only experienced the death of a parent, but of another family member, too. Rather it was the death of a sibling, a wife or a husband….or even a girlfriend or boyfriend, experiencing this has made me realize that now is the time to call on and pull whatever strength I can from my higher power. For me, it was the Lord; for others, it may be something completely different because the act of grieving is a personal and highly individual experience.
Specifically, how a person grieves depends on many factors; this includes a person’s personality and the techniques they rely on to cope with hardship. These, along with a person’s life experiences, as well as their faith, can totally shape and hone the nature of a person’s loss.
Along with various variables that factor into how a person handles their grief, time is also another thing to consider…more so because the grieving process takes time. This is because healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced nor hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. For instance, some people start to feel better within weeks or months. However, there are others (like me), who can very well measure their grieving process in a span of years. Yet, whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Coping with grief and loss tip: Take care of yourself
When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. I read an online grief support site and gleaned some important points from them. Because these points were helpful to me, I will share them with you:
- It is very important to face your feelings throughout the grieving process. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. If you try to avoid feelings of sadness and loss, this will only prolong the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
- Be sure to express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Write about your loss in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say; make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause or organization that was important to him or her.
- Look after your own physical health. This is because the mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief, nor to artificially lighten your mood.
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
- Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or life cycle event with other relatives, talk to them ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you loved.
Remember, the intention of this article is not to burst your Second Life bubble, nor is it a way to ignore the fact that some believe that RL is inherently separate from SL. However, since death affects both SL and RL, it is important to evaluate how you cope with grief, as well as how grief can potentially affect your everyday life.
In this sense, it is my hope that there is something in this article that will validate the feelings someone in either SL or RL felt…particularly as it relates to grief and loss.
Also, please remember to give yourself a solid pat on the back, and remind yourself that, in spite of it all, you are on the right path!
“Till Next Time!…Onward and Upwards…