I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of loving someone very dear to you. Perhaps it was your Mother- a regular attendee of all your co-curricular events? Maybe it was your father who taught you the very basis of what it was to be a man? Could even have been a grand-mother, who’d battled with some sort of old-age induced illness, but the very thought of saying a final farewell to her weekly home-baked cookies, struck the very core of your being.

Well, I too can relate to that feeling of sheer lost, devastation, emptiness and confusion. Without diving into details of my very recent bereavement, there are some truths and practices I’ve abided by, preceding my little cousin’s death that have allowed me to rise above the pain and melancholy of such a tough period.

  1. Cry, Cry, Cry: There are several people who believe in the redundant idea that bottling up sentiments and emotions causes us to forget about them, on a timelier basis. Members of this school of thought stipulate that by distracting, and denying ourselves the privilege of lamenting on our loss, the healing can take place “quicker”. This is very untrue. Bottling up emotions has the unintended consequence of coming to torment you later on in life, in ways unanticipated. You might be seating a test, and burst into floods of tears. Or you might go through a phase of severe depression and anxiety, (long after the tragedy) wondering how/why it came about. The reality is that pain unexpressed wreaks havoc in other ways; this is a danger I urge you to refrain from experimenting with. Why not cry excessively, and unapologetically for however long it takes you to overcome your pain. For me, it was approximately 3 days. I was in a funk on each day, but by the end of it, my purpose, clarity and resilience were renewed.


   2. Speak to a trusted confidante: Admittedly, crying alone does little to heal the soul of the pain it might be experiencing. Yes, it makes you feel better, but feeling better isn’t healing. Communication is the next tool you need at this stage. You see, the term communication deviates from the word ‘commune’. This term is one rooted in community. Another false belief is that we need excessive amounts of solitude and quiet when going through a difficult time. Whilst I concur with this partially, I believe this stage of retreat should last no longer than 2 days. Loneliness is the Devil’s playground, and excessive periods of isolation may bring about thoughts and feelings that seek to impede your healing process. Find a friend, talk to them, break down if need be, and commit to regular visits. It’ll be tough at first (being a naturally inhibited, reserved person, this stage didn’t come easy), but with practice and intent, the effects of such openness would soon emerge.

    3.      Thank God for their life:  An essential stage towards the path of healing is gratitude. Having experienced a loss, I’m certain the last thing you’ll want to do is thank anyone. However, studies show that the very actions which counter our natural impulses are the ones which bring about the desired level of growth and self-improvement. It’s much easier to hoard our wealth than it is to be altruistic, but people who lie in the latter category tend to be far more fulfilled. Likewise it’s much easier to curse the world, and blame it for our hardships and losses but those who take each experience as a needed lesson towards the path of their development emerge stronger. I don’t know what being/entity you choose to commune with, but I have a working relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray to him, and thank him for the times spent and lessons learnt from the deceased relative/friend. I pray that He grants me the peace my soul needs, the mental support to navigate the loss, and the resilience to progress with my life, whilst refraining from looking back. You might choose an alternate being to confide in (ie: Allah, God or even just speaking to your mind/will), but saying a prayer along these lines would certainly aid you in the path of surrender and trust.

      4.     Reflect on the value and sanctity of life: There are times in my life, where I’ve desired nothing other than instant death. Such harsh, hasty desires are often by-products of immense stress, anxiety or grief. However, I know deep down that this desire is very far from my actual intent. I believe every human has been embedded with a unique code which spurs them to strive for greater. We all want change, but more than this, we aspire to be the catalysts behind this change. Provided you are mentally and emotionally stable, I’m sure you believe that your prime purpose is to bring about something beneficial for the people/environment around you. Upon realising this, it’s effective to take some time out (perhaps on a daily, weekly or monthly basis) to reflect on life- particularly what it means to you, and how you intend to use it in such a way that brings about the needed change. Refrain from engaging in leisure activities that might limit your life-span.

Try to picture your life as a compass, with the arrow set on the midnight hour. All other seconds, minutes and hours are distractions from the time in question. Similarly, all other vices and ploys are distractions from your prime purpose. Angle your life, with the “12th hour” being your sole direction, and live each day in such a way that exalts this affirmation.

5.        Stop taking people for granted: In a world which exalts self, at the expense of everyone and everything else, it can be hard to appreciate the little pleasures and gifts we have in family/friendships. Losing someone in our inner circle forces us to face the harsh reality that life comprises more than self, and it’s the community element that adds the needed joy and happiness we all long for. Learn how not to take those around you for granted. When I lost my cousin, I began to think of my little cousin and the effect losing her brother would have on her. Whilst she has weathered the storm with a level of maturity which exceeds her 8 years, I began to think of the effect losing my own brother would have on me, and it wasn’t particularly pleasurable. I am now striving to show greater love and appreciation to all my loved ones, on a more frequent basis.

6.            Purpose: I addressed this point briefly. The death of your loved one, needn’t mark the death of all your aspirations, desires and ambitions. Rather, it should spur you on to attain more within your life. One thing I’ve learnt for a fact is that life isn’t guaranteed, and this whole procrastination culture deviates from sheer delusion. “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” I’m sure you’ve heard that one before, but how can you be so sure that you’ll see the bosoms of tomorrow- the enclave in which your future plans and objectives have been neatly stored into. No-one. Try to minimise putting things off, and go reach those targets and desires you have in you TODAY!

Published by Ordor, Sharon