Dealing With Death
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05-02-2013, 11:39 PM
Dealing With Death
In 2010, my [ex] brother-in-law killed himself. He was apart of my life since I can remember. He left two sons, ages 4 and 7 at the time. I cried for a majority of the day for days straight. He hung himself. I kept putting myself in his final moments. Did he regret it? Did he instinctively try to save himself? Anyway, I found myself talking aloud to him! I was doing the dishes and just talking to him. It made me feel so confused. If I believe someone is gone, then why was I compelled to talk to someone who ceased to exist? I still feel a void.

In July, 2012, my stepfather died in his sleep. He had a bad heart but he lived a full life at age 76. He and I bonded about our nonbeliefs. We were part of our own little club. But apparently nobody respected him enough when he died because when it came time for his funeral, they did the most generic sermon for him. "Walking through the valley..." blah, blah, blah. If he were there, he woulda been rolling his eyes alongeith me. He didn't need a prayer. He would've loved just hearing stories of the good old times. I didn't feel I needed to talk to him as I felt the need to talk to my brother-in-law. I knew he was headed out. I'm still lost. How do I cope with loss? They were the first loved ones I lost. Many of my friends and family say they pray for me. That's cool. They care. But eh...

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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07-02-2013, 11:17 AM
RE: Dealing With Death
It's hard to give "an" answer - everyone is different.

I'll say the two hardest times for me are immediately after they pass - which, really, I tend to have family around anyway which makes it easier, even with a whole range from deeply religious to my atheist brother - and then, after some time passes, when you realize that feeling of loss isn't so close to the surface any more.

I've lost both my parents, a few years apart. When my mom died (the more recent loss,) I think it was easier for several reasons. First, unlike with my dad where I'd been on the other side of the country, I was there when she died. Literally, I was there with my brother, watching someone who'd been unresponsive all day with the hospice nurse just on a death watch. We knew she'd be gone very shortly, I got to tell her thank you for everything she'd done and that I loved her. Gave her a hug, went back to my room (I was living there at the time - initially to get back on my feet after a divorce, then just to help her) to get my keys, my brother showed up at my door a moment behind me to say she was gone.

... and that'll be a year ago this coming wednesday.

In a way, I think my atheism helped. I'd seen her in pain, frustrated at becoming more helpless as cancer took her, and for me it was a "She's not in pain any more" moment. With my dad, several years prior (a bit over eight years ago,) I was still... teetering. God gave me something to be angry at for drawing things out, or to beg TO draw things out so he wouldn't die right around Christmas, and in some ways kept me angry or hurting. With my mom, I knew it was over, and it was a relief she wouldn't have to suffer further.

It doesn't mean you don't miss them. That's part of the grieving process. And there's nothing wrong with "talking to" them - within reason. When your ex-brother-in-law's sons do something - get straight As, whatever - there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying "You'd be proud of them if you could see them." Even with knowing there's nothing but you on the receiving end. It *is* part of coping.

Losing someone hurts. It is a wound. But unlike a cut or burn, there's no bandage to put on, no ointment to put on. Saying "you have to give it time" sounds cliche', but it really is what you need to do. In the meantime, do what helps. Sit down in the morning and write about some happy, fun, or otherwise memorable moment you had with them. Do some volunteer work they'd appreciate. Even something as little as donating to something in their name helps, for some people. Don't keep it in. I'd guess part of the void you say you still feel about your brother in law is probably tied to the facts that (a) he was the first you had to deal with, and (b) he left two young children, as opposed to your stepfather who, as you said, was 76 and led a full life. Perhaps that's the key to helping you cope in that situation.

Hope this rambling helped in some small way. Smile
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07-02-2013, 11:21 AM
RE: Dealing With Death
(05-02-2013 11:39 PM)59pEaNUt89 Wrote:  In 2010, my [ex] brother-in-law killed himself. He was apart of my life since I can remember. He left two sons, ages 4 and 7 at the time. I cried for a majority of the day for days straight. He hung himself. I kept putting myself in his final moments. Did he regret it? Did he instinctively try to save himself? Anyway, I found myself talking aloud to him! I was doing the dishes and just talking to him. It made me feel so confused. If I believe someone is gone, then why was I compelled to talk to someone who ceased to exist? I still feel a void.

In July, 2012, my stepfather died in his sleep. He had a bad heart but he lived a full life at age 76. He and I bonded about our nonbeliefs. We were part of our own little club. But apparently nobody respected him enough when he died because when it came time for his funeral, they did the most generic sermon for him. "Walking through the valley..." blah, blah, blah. If he were there, he woulda been rolling his eyes alongeith me. He didn't need a prayer. He would've loved just hearing stories of the good old times. I didn't feel I needed to talk to him as I felt the need to talk to my brother-in-law. I knew he was headed out. I'm still lost. How do I cope with loss? They were the first loved ones I lost. Many of my friends and family say they pray for me. That's cool. They care. But eh...

Sorry to hear that. Just remember that neither of them are suffering now, and that the past can't be changed, so the best thing to do is look to the future. Get a hobby, occupy your mind with something you find interesting instead of allowing yourself to constantly think about your loss.

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07-02-2013, 12:52 PM
RE: Dealing With Death
This is a topic I have studied extensively lately, while trying to make sense of my reactions after my husband died a little over a year ago.
There are so many variables that everyone experiences this differently.
And - however you react is the proper way for you to react. Even "crazy" things like talking to the dead are completely normal. Trust yourself.
Some (but not near all) of the variables are:
1. The degree of daily involvement with the dead person prior to their death (not in the distant past, like having lived with your mom 20 years ago doesn't count in this variable)
2. Your age
3. Their age
4. Cause of death
5. Was the death sudden or expected (not that anyone is ever prepared for it, but because of shock value)
6. How close you were
7. Your optimism/pessimism in general
8. Your hormonal balance
9. Your living circumstance (do you live alone, with family, friends, do you have a significant other, etc etc.)
10, and yes, faith
and many more.
The first point is the most crucial. The more of your daily activities were shared, the more "triggers" you will encounter as life goes on. Triggers are activities that are changed because of the absence of the person who died. They are also things like scents, trees in bloom or out of bloom, holidays- public or private, certain people in your life, places, and on and on.
Since we are Pavlov's dog in many ways, all of these triggers need to be encountered x amount of times before they start to fade. The majority wil totally fade with time, some never will.
If you have traumatic events surrounding the death (murder, suicide, physician's error etc) you will be harder hit, the scene will replay in your head. The "what if" syndrome sets in.
Personal ways to deal with grief are also a big part. Some people throw out all the belongings of the deceased asap, some keep their clothes in the closet for years. Some cry right away, some cry years later, and everything in between. Some like to talk to people about it, some avoid people.
Talking to the dead, out loud or in your mind, is completely normal and a way to resolve unresolved issues. You may even "hear" replies, that is you imagine what the deceased would answer. This is helpful therapy and by no means crazy.
You will find that accepting your own reactions as normal, whether you feel guilty for not feeling anything or whether you are dissolving in tears, is the start to healing.
There is no correct reaction. People feel guilty for laughing, for crying, for seeking company, for staying in seclusion, for feeling too much, for feeling too little, you name it, someone is feeling guilty about it. No reason to feel guilty, you are reacting in the rght way for yourself.
Anger. If you're not angry now, you will be later. At yourself or at the dead person, third parties, even things.
Blame. Someone needs to be blamed. Yourself, the doctor, even the weather - someone or something will be at fault. Most people seek frantically for where to apply the blame. We need reasons.
On and on like that, one can write books on the topic. While everyone will react differently, many things are still in common, but not in the same time frame.
The sooner you accept your own reactions, the sooner you quit trying to be "normal", the sooner you will get over the worst of it.

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07-02-2013, 08:16 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 09:46 PM by Peanut.)
RE: Dealing With Death
Thanks for sharing your stories. I couldn't imagine losing my husband. And to see your mother suffering through a terrible illness is horrible. It's such a breath of fresh air to not hear that "they're in a better place." (And it hurts to think that people think my brother-in-law is in burning in Hell for eternity all because he was hurting and didn't see any hope in life.)

My closest friends are Christian and they were there to comfort me. They accept that I don't believe in God or Heaven or the 'power of prayer.' My one friend said she knows I don't believe but she was praying for me. In a way, that made me feel better. I still smiled and thanked her. That's all she knows that is so powerful to 'help' me.

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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18-05-2013, 03:38 AM
 
RE: Dealing With Death
I think you can talk to the dead, because they aren't really dead. They're simply existing on their lucid spiritual plane, as we all do--at all times. They are aware of theirs; we are not aware of ours; that's all.
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18-05-2013, 03:52 AM
RE: Dealing With Death
(18-05-2013 03:38 AM)Egor Wrote:  I think you can talk to the dead, because they aren't really dead. They're simply existing on their lucid spiritual plane, as we all do--at all times. They are aware of theirs; we are not aware of ours; that's all.

Thanks for contaminating another thread with your unsubstantiated woo. Just a guess, but I don't think the delusions of a child will be of much help to anyone that actually gives a shit about the truth.

Again, hope your doing well Peanut.

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18-05-2013, 04:07 AM
 
RE: Dealing With Death
(18-05-2013 03:52 AM)Adenosis Wrote:  Thanks for contaminating another thread with your unsubstantiated woo. Just a guess, but I don't think the delusions of a child will be of much help to anyone that actually gives a shit about the truth.

Again, hope your doing well Peanut.

You're a hateful, insulting bigot who is intollerant of other people's point of view. You're a religious fundamentalist. Your flavor is merely atheism. What would you know about truth?
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18-05-2013, 04:23 AM
RE: Dealing With Death
(18-05-2013 04:07 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(18-05-2013 03:52 AM)Adenosis Wrote:  Thanks for contaminating another thread with your unsubstantiated woo. Just a guess, but I don't think the delusions of a child will be of much help to anyone that actually gives a shit about the truth.

Again, hope your doing well Peanut.

You're a hateful, insulting bigot who is intollerant of other people's point of view. You're a religious fundamentalist. Your flavor is merely atheism. What would you know about truth?

What i can deduce through an examination of the available evidence, not what feels good to me at some particular time mate.

Oh and yes, I am quite hateful of woo, you reek of it.

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18-05-2013, 07:02 AM
RE: Dealing With Death
This is the personal support section and you two go stand in the corner or go to another section to have it out.

Your conversation doesn't belong here. This thread is about how Peanut personally deals with death, and your input is only welcome if it helps her.

Peanut is an atheist, so Egor, you are not being helpful, you are supposed to look at things from peanut's point of view in this section. And Adenosis, your comments (while I agree with them) are not helping.

Shame on you two! The personal support section is here for ONLY that - you have the entire remaining message board to duke it out.

Now run along!

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