Having someone close die is almost always a very difficult experience. It is doubly so if you loved that person. One of the more difficult parts of the whole thing is if it is the first time you’ve had someone close to you die, and don’t know what to expect or what to feel or what to do. The list below, of ten likely things on what to expect when someone close to you dies, is a not anything that is set in stone. Nor is everything on it universal. But in general, at some point, most people experience most of the things on this list.
1 – You’ll find emotions hit you at the oddest times. You might be sitting down to eat with a friend for lunch, feeling reasonably good, and all of the sudden find yourself crying, or laughing. This is normal as your emotions have been knocked off kilter for awhile.
2 – Sometimes you’ll be angry for no apparent reason. One of the things about death, is that the people who are left behind quite often feel angry at the person who has died, for leaving them, even though in most cases, they had no choice. But emotions aren’t logical and don’t be worried if you feel angry. Most people do, and you’ll likely get over it as time passes.
3 – You’ll likely sometimes forget that they are gone. You’ll hear or see something and want to share it with this person you love, and then suddenly remember that they are gone. This will happen over and over as your brain takes time to adjust to such a sudden change in your world.
4 – You’ll probably find yourself having difficulty grasping the idea of death. One of the very odd things about death, is accepting its finality. Looking at a person, lying dead in a casket is generally a surreal experience. There is no other life experience to draw on and people are left trying to make sense of something that just doesn’t seem to make sense. Again, it will take time and you may never truly feel you understand it, but you will almost certainly come to accept that his person you loved, is gone.
5 – You’ll probably hold on to certain objects that will take on huge meaning for you. Most likely they will be little things. A spoon your grandmother always used to stir her tea, or a shawl your mother wore to church. Maybe a ring you gave your bride. Whatever it is, you will likely find yourself cleaving tightly to something that represents to you what you have lost. Something you can hold on to.
6 – You’ll probably find yourself annoyed that other people aren’t responding the way you think they should. It’s an odd feeling, knowing someone you love has died, and then stepping out into the world and finding no one cares. Also, you may find that other people that did know the deceased aren’t sad enough or aren’t respectful enough. This is all your own perception and is perfectly normal.
7 – You may find you are unable to do things or think through what you are trying to do. If your grief is deep, you may find your mind unable to form coherent thoughts or that you are unable to do tasks that you were once able to do easily without thinking. This is because your brain is occupied with grief. Give it some time to heal, your abilities will return with time.
8 – The idea of rituals may seem abstract but will likely be comforting as they happen. Sometimes the idea of listening to people speak of the dead, or watching a casket get carried around or buried seems absurd or pointless. But, for most people, all of these rituals help to cement the idea that the person is truly gone and thus helps to begin the healing process.
9 – You’re perception of the world around you may be altered for awhile. You may find yourself feeling almost out of your body as you walk around, or as you sit listening to others. You may as if you are detached and unable to hear the way you did before, or things look differently. Again, this is all pretty normal for people who have suffered an emotional shock and will pass with time.
10 – You might have suicidal thoughts at times. Something that isn’t widely known or talked about is that a lot of people who are close to someone who dies, find they experience thoughts of suicide. It might be because they aren’t that happy in life to begin with and see their loved one has escaped the bonds of earthly pain. Or it might be because the pain of living without them is so great you want nothing more than to escape. Whatever the cause, it is very common. If you find it doesn’t pass, you might consider seeing a therapist.
These ten likely things on what to expect when someone close to you dies, are for people who have not yet experienced the death of someone close to them. By knowing ahead of time what to expect, people won’t be surprised or scared of some of the emotions that crop up. If this happens to you, I hope this list of things will come to your mind and you will remember that the things you are feeling are probably rather normal and will pass as time moves on. Good luck.