The sudden death of a loved one can be traumatizing on so many levels. From the immediate decisions that need to be made to long-term adjustments. From the issues of cause of death itself to the very personal depths of a loss. All these things and more are a challenge when you experience the sudden death of a loved one.
Perhaps you’ve survived such an experience in recent months or years or even many years ago. And suddenly you find yourself surprised by the impact of a very public sudden death. Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Those on the helicopter flight with them. Deaths that have come as a great surprise to all of us bringing with them sadness, a sense of grief for their families and loved ones and sometimes a surprising resurgence of feelings related to individual traumatic loss.
Like a boomerang, feelings from your own experience can bounce back into your consciousness. These feelings may surprise you so much that you feel wounded again by your own loss and by the very public mourning taking place in circles of community around the ones who have died. You may find yourself deeply touched by what you see unfolding in the news media. And, your own loss may feel fresh all over again.
Grief has a way of turning up when we least expect it. And if your own experience of grief includes tragic and traumatic events, you may discover that community or national events are a trigger for emotions around your own healing heart. Although it is a normal experience, just like when your own traumatic event occurred, it comes from a place that is so unexpected that it catches you by surprise with breathtaking speed.
If you find this true for you today, there are things you can do to take care of yourself and honor your feelings. First, know that there are resources in our community that can support you. Grief support groups are available in Anderson and can be found on the internet. Counselors, social workers and therapists as well as pastors can offer comfort and care. Funeral directors are also capable resources because they know other resources in our community. Reach out and seek support for yourself and those around you.
Getting involved is another way to bring comfort and peace to yourself. Is there a place to make a charitable gift that might reflect your own loved one or the life of the public figure who has recently died? Consider this and other activities that can create meaning in such a challenging loss.
And finally, look after yourself. Life is so very fragile. Tell those around you that you love them. Listen carefully to their words of love for you, too. Spend time with family, friends, pets and in places you love. Limit time watching the news cycle and get out and move; go for a walk, pursue your favorite fitness activity, spend time outdoors. Rest and eat healthy foods and engage in activities that fuel your spirit. Make art or engage in creative activities that feel comforting and healing.
Even a very public death such as Kobe Bryant’s can be an opportunity to reflect and relish the things in life that you cherish and enjoy the most.