“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”
— Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Read here for previous published post on Coping With Loss ….
In the last few months, there have been many deaths of people I know and some famous people. I think death is something real and we have to learn to accept death as part of life. I do still struggle when dealing with death even when dealing with someone who is not close to me. I grew up without a mom, lost my dad when I was 13 and then lost my Grandfather and Grandmother in my 30’s. Every time there is death, I go into this mental processing mode on facts, feelings and spiritual healing.
I believe there is no right way or wrong way to personally deal with death. Individually we do our best to equip ourselves with possibility of any loss. The most important thing is to accept the differences and give a lot of understanding. The one thing not to do is to deny it will happen at any time. At some point, you have to start thinking about the preparation.
I do not know how I would cope with a loss the next time around. It could possibly be someone close. Although I feel I am always prepared, I think I would probably be in some deep sadness period. I pray I will pass that period gradually but fast. There are so many ways to learn on how to cope with a loss. I am certainly not an expert. I do feel at this point of my life, writing down the best way I handle loss is a way to share and reminds me when the time comes again. Below are what I prepare to face any loss…
- Acknowledge how I feel.
I think it is important to acknowledge how I feel. It is not how I should feel but what I am truly feeling. I do not want others to tell me what I should feel or how to feel. I must figure out what I am feeling on my own. By doing this, I concentrate on my own feelings and me. In the end, it is simpler. For as I heal, I help the people around me heal together.
- Stay Healthy
You can be sad and mad but stay healthy. There are cases where society plays an important role in this. How can she eat during this period? What other people think is no important. I know from experience that when I am not healthy I do not function well, miserable, unable to communicate or think clearly. When I am unhealthy, I am mentally unhealthy and will not be able to heal properly.
- Good Support System
This usually falls back to the closest people around me. Emotionally I do depend a lot on my friends as I only have one sibling. This is the part I worry the most, as I do not have a large support system. I hope they will be there to listen when I need them and encourage me to physically and emotionally heal (or smack me when I lost all hope!!). I think it is important to converse about loss with family members. I do ask myself some questions like how many aging people who are close to me and tell myself this is part of life. You love them but they will not live forever.
For me, finding comfort and solace can only come from my faith. In every faith, there are methods one can learn to cope with a loss. I find that that being spiritually strong helps in the search of ways to mentally deal with all thoughts. Prayers and zikr can help to reduce stress. Sometimes it is good to talk with our religious teachers. Being closer to my Creator makes me calmer and able to think clearer.
- Understand that healing takes time
I find some time that people try to move on with their life too soon. They put aside their feelings, physical health and project a “strong” front. Discussion on the loss is required, if not it will possibly lead to depression. I do not want to be strong when all I feel is grief and sadness. All I want to do is deal with the grief and sadness. Cry if I want to. Take leave and be alone if that is what I feel to do. There is no target date to heal but remember the target is to cope with the loss and finally moving on.
Many experts talk about many stages of coping with loss. Usually it is the 5 stages:
The stage that I am afraid the most is the depression stage but those stages are not something that a person has to go through. It just varies from one person to another.
When we lose someone we love, we are face with many unexplained feelings, thoughts, questions, blame, anger, sadness and so much more. Although we say we cannot prepare for death, we have to accept death as part of life. We have to remember that it is more painful for those left behind; therefore, a little preparation will ease the loss.
Will it ever be enough? I do not know. I do the best I can with the knowledge I have.
Picture from: http://galleryhip.com/growth.html
As I scatter rose petals onto the wet soil
I wonder if you are resting
I wonder if you can smell the roses
I wonder if you are well.
As I scatter the orchids on to the wet soil
I wonder if you know I am here
I wonder if you can feel my hand touching the soil
I wonder if you could see me.
As I raise my hands to pray
I wonder if you know how much I love you
I wonder if you can feel how weak I am
I wonder if you can see my heart.
Broken and mended
Wounded and healed
Broken and wounded repeatedly
Mended and healed repeatedly
I miss you, my first child
I will be there with you when the time is right
When the Almighty decides it is time
I know you will be waiting with a big smile
And you will once more be in my arms.
13th February 2015
It was really hard to be so far from my friend and not be able to be there in person to help her when she lost her son (her eldest). And it was harder to speak on the phone. I put myself in her position and as a mom; I would probably just want that time alone – me, my family and God.
There are no words or understanding or gestures which would make someone heal from such a tragedy in a short period of time. Heartbroken would be a word to use but it really does not explain how the heart feels and how physically exhausting it is.
May Allah bless you with solace, strength and steadfastness. May you find happiness daily. May your family be strong together.
I love you, Julie.
La Tahzan Innallaha Ma’ana
“Don’t be sad; indeed, Allah is with us.” [Surah At-Taubah: 9:40]
I thought that I would not comment on the missing MH370. It was a very painful experience for those involved and indirectly to all Malaysians. Honestly, I do think about it many times a week. I wanted to just know what happened. Can you imagine what the family of the passengers and crews felt?
When the incident happened, all I could do was pray that the plane went down somewhere and we would find survivors to tell the harrowing story.
That was 8 March 2014. 12 crew & 227 passengers lost. Nothing was found of MH370. Not a shred of evidence to tell us what happened.
How does the family member move on?
I cannot even begin to imagine how they felt. A loss like this – unprecedented. For me: incomprehensible. I do not have knowledge or the intelligence to explain or give a theory.
I do know how it felt to lose someone (although in this case, with full knowledge of what happened). I hope they stay strong emotionally and physically. I hope they hold patience and perseverance. I hope they continue to pray.
17th Sept 2014.
Sand sculpture made by Indian sand artist Sudersan Pattnaik with a message of prayers for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 (Pic from The Star newspaper)