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Thread: Questions about Death, Emotion, and Comfort

  1. #1

    Default Questions about Death, Emotion, and Comfort

    Maybe you are lucky enough not to have experienced what lingers after someone dies.
    But for those that have, death of anyone relatively close sets an atmosphere where speech is sparse and smiles and laughter is not quite as common as normal. It doesn't even have to be someone that was close to you. It could even be someone that was close to a friend.
    Yesterday, one of my friend's father died, and it was not so close to a peaceful type of death. This (Wednesday) morning was, simply grave. The usually noisy hallways were crowded, but everyone was solemn. It really did set a tone for the morning at one of where the IB (International Baccalaureate) kids congregated. The friend I was talking about is very well known, popular and social, and extremely smart.

    Now if anyone wants to accuse me of making anything up, I do have news articles as well as social media streams to prove it, but I do feel that I have a responsibility to protect the privacy of the person(s) of interest.

    Now my question is: have any of you experienced death- of family, friends, or anyone? Or have you tried to comfort someone who has experience such loss?

    If you have, I would like to know how you think people that have experienced a loss think- how they deal with it.
    I just feel lost for words and I feel helpless because I cannot say anything to help my (and many others') friend.

    I already know that there are psychological stages we go through when we deal with grief- We deny it, we get angry at the injustice, we bargain for nothing, we become depressed, and, for some sooner than others, we start accepting what really happened and then finally continue on with our daily lives. Have any of you gone through these stages?

    My experience with my grandmother's passing was of attempted ignorance, but since she was the first real mother to me, I simply couldn't deny it. And I will regret to this day that I was not by her death bed (though I am many time zones away). She was the loving old lady that spoiled me when I was young. I only visited her once after I left and she was in a miserable condition already. What was really sad though was that she spoke no English and I spoke a broken Chinese. Nonetheless, she was proud of me, how I have grown and how I have changed for the better.

    Now back to the topic...
    And how do you comfort someone so depressed, so broken and out of it? Again, I am lost for words and all I could say was "my condolences."

    Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2

    Default

    in the 80's i lost almost everyone that i knew to HIV-AIDS. for a long time it seemed like funerals were how we all marked our weekly schedules... i am sad to say that death became so common place that many of us came to expect it. so much so that in the portland gay community, we had a weekly-mass of special intention for the dead and dying.... we held benefits, we marched, we ran food drives and tried to make sure that no one was left to deal with this horrible disease... back then everyone who got sick, eventually died. but as a community, for the most part, we all learned to pull together become very much closer.

    in all of those long years; in all of that long night... i learned not to hide from death, or dying. that is to say i talk about it openly when someone i know dies. i don't speak in whispered tones as if i don't want anyone to hear me. i try to get the people around me be open and talk so that they can share their feeling with others. i don't think that anyone who lives through that death of another really wants to be alone even if they say that they do. sometimes folks feel really bad that they are alive when someone they care about deeply has died. survivor-guilt... and i admit that i have never understood why i was spared from getting AIDS when almost none of my friend were... but i learned to be part of the surviving community and help each other... all the survivors must do that when someone dies... that's how we go on.... that is all i know to do.

    maybe it will help.

  3. #3

    Default

    I have experienced death... but this does not mean I know what to say.. It is a very difficult topic, for me at least, even having been through it. My friends have all told me, I'm sorry for your loss, It wasn't your responsibility, It wasn't for you to fix, That I need to move on, etc... I think this is all part of the standard fair. However, none of it has helped me deal with it. I still cry my self to sleep sometimes and It's been 8 years. So I can't tell you the right answer because I don't know if there is anything you can say to actually help them, besides actually just being there for them, and saying you are there for them. You can't change what happened, all you can do it be there to be a shoulder to cry on or help with something they need. To me that is the most real. But social standard would probably say you do try and console as well.

  4. #4
    Cygnus

    Default

    I've only experienced a death close to me one time; that happened a couple of months ago when my grandfather died. It came as a shock, I had heard everybody talk about his worsening condition, five years ago a doctor said he had two months to live, but he seemed too strong to go. He was always ready with a joke, constantly keeping in good spirits and still able to outsmart everybody in cards. One night my parents left to visit him; an hour later my dad came home to inform me he had died.

    It never really sank in until the very end. I went to the viewing, watched as his life-long friends and former students came by to pay their respects and give him a final farewell. Everything seemed hazy, like it wasn't happening to me, like it wasn't quite real. During the funeral session, everybody talked about his life and everybody he touched. It was then that I finally cried. I let my tears flow, but remained silent and attentive, wanting to feel remorse and honor all at the same time. I was a pallbearer, I did my job and was able to send him away right next to the grave of his child he had lost fifty years prior.

    I served food at the luncheon afterwards, and that was it. I hold no lingering sadness over his death. He lived an outstanding life and I look at his death as something that was inevitable. I look at it as just another entry in his universal story. Part of my fast acceptance of his death may have come from my belief of reincarnation after death, but I feel that I would have let his memory go free just as soon had I not believed in a continuation of consciousness.

    For your friend, I think you don't need to say anything. This is really an internal struggle that he needs to deal with in his own way. Be by him as a friend, a shoulder to cry on, somebody to listen. Support him, but let him cope his own way. All you can do is support him.

    I hope this helps.

  5. #5

    Unhappy



    Quote Originally Posted by wasntme View Post
    Now my question is: have any of you experienced death- of family, friends, or anyone? Or have you tried to comfort someone who has experience such loss?

    If you have, I would like to know how you think people that have experienced a loss think- how they deal with it.
    I just feel lost for words and I feel helpless because I cannot say anything to help my (and many others') friend.
    I'm terrible at comforting others, but when each of my parents died I just wanted to be with my close family and sit around doing nothing for a couple of weeks. When I did eventually speak to my friends, it was nice to hear just a simple acknowledgement (e.g. "sorry to hear about your dad"). I didn't really want much more than that (other than a bit of sympathy and kindness). The people who I really appreciated were the ones who where just there to talk about other "normal" stuff... It was nice how many asked if there was "anything they could do to help" too... Of course there wasn't, but it's a nice gesture...

    If your friend is pretty shell-shocked at the moment, he might need a bit of space and some time on his own before he goes back to socialising. So just letting him know that he can pick up the phone and call you or that you'll meet him for a beer when he's feeling up to it will let him know that you're thinking of him and will probably be appreciated.



    Quote Originally Posted by wasntme View Post
    I already know that there are psychological stages we go through when we deal with grief- We deny it, we get angry at the injustice, we bargain for nothing, we become depressed, and, for some sooner than others, we start accepting what really happened and then finally continue on with our daily lives. Have any of you gone through these stages?
    No; not at all. No denial, no anger, no bargaining. Just... depression. I think those "stages of acceptance of death" are nonsense. Every death you experience hits you completely differently in my experience.

  6. #6

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    No; not at all. No denial, no anger, no bargaining. Just... depression. I think those "stages of acceptance of death" are nonsense. Every death you experience hits you completely differently in my experience.
    Very true... every death you experience is different, I have lost other people, including my grandpa, but have had an easier time getting past them, in varying degrees, some deaths do not affect me much at all, it depends on many factors for the individual experiencing the loss.

  7. #7

    Default

    For me, not all of the stages appeared. I am not one to get angry, so I just went straight to being depressed. I'm guessing the Ross model is only a generalized outline of it all.

    Thanks for the responses so far. I have not been able to read them all, but I will after school.
    Last edited by Embrace; 12-Oct-2012 at 04:35.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by wasntme View Post
    Yesterday, one of my friend's father died, and it was not so close to a peaceful type of death.
    Depending on the way he died there may be more support to offer. Can you tell us how he died or can you send it in a confidential pm?

  9. #9

    Default

    Okay, I want to thank you all for your responses. Sorry about the delay and sorry for not addressing each of you individually.
    Today all I did was exchanged a couple words. "Stay strong," to be exact.
    The whole senior class is now raising money for her family because her dad was the general breadwinner for the family.
    I guess I should have left it as a personal matter. As well as that, I know that she is in good hands because the whole senior class cares greatly about her and her family.
    Today there was some crying, but not quite as much as yesterday. I haven't seen a smile yet, but I don't expect it either.

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by wasntme View Post
    Okay, I want to thank you all for your responses. Sorry about the delay and sorry for not addressing each of you individually.
    Today all I did was exchanged a couple words. "Stay strong," to be exact.
    The whole senior class is now raising money for her family because her dad was the general breadwinner for the family.
    I guess I should have left it as a personal matter. As well as that, I know that she is in good hands because the whole senior class cares greatly about her and her family.
    Today there was some crying, but not quite as much as yesterday. I haven't seen a smile yet, but I don't expect it either.
    I tried to pm you back, but I'm not at a high enough level yet for that. Sorry. I did have an idea, but I don't want to put it out here.

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