The pain of losing a family member or a loved one is indeed emotionally devastating and in some cases even mentally disturbing. Words or adjectives are inadequate to describe the twinge of anguish and sorrow that the bereaved one’s going through especially during the first moment that they see the lifeless body of a family member or a loved one. Our first common reaction to this experience is “denial”, thus we keep on looking back at the past when that person was still alive, we keep on reminiscing the happy, joyful moments with them and their good deeds because somehow it would bring them back to us. The reality that everything will be changed now that they’re gone is terrifying and sickening thus acceptance of the loss becomes harder. But that is reality. Whether we like it or not, whether we are ready or not, death of a loved one is inevitable. We can never escape this. Nobody is exempted. Life is designed to be this way.
Personally, I’m in a state of grief these days. One of my brothers had his last breath on June 24, 2018 at 3:36PM. “Your beloved brother is gone” says the voice that’s trying to instill the heartrending message into my brain but I didn’t want to accept it. But it’s here. The reality is here right in front of me, screaming and letting me know. The angst of that certainty, that I won’t have any more chance to see him, to talk to him and to hug him when I go back to the Philippines makes me feel weak and downcast. The poignant truth like a sharp knife penetrating into my whole being is here. IT’S REAL! I couldn’t escape the crushing sadness. I couldn’t run away from it. It pursues me even in my sleep.
Where else can we go in times like this? As frail humans, we normally look for shoulders to cry on, for ears to listen, for hands to tap our back or hold our hands during our moments of sorrow. It’s comforting to hear messages of sympathy; at least it relieves the heaviness of the heart, for a while. But after the funeral, when all the sympathizers are gone home and you would be by yourself, the pain, the emptiness and painful memories brought by the things and places you shared together is hunting you, eating up your emotional stability.
It’s difficult but we have to move on. Our life must continue. How? For me, one of the ways is to think of my loved ones that are still alive, they are still here. It’s the same way with you who are grieving for a loss and are reading this. Direct your attention to your other family members. They are still with you. They are the ones that can still feel your love and your presence. They need you. You may grieve but do not let grieving impede your moving on. There are still bright tomorrows that awaits you.
Losing a loved one is harder if we are unprepared and unguarded and in this case, the sudden turn of events like this may result to emotional and nervous breakdown. The best thing to do is to prepare yourself by accepting the truth that anytime you may be into this situation. You have to bear in mind that we are all mortals so is our loved ones. That all of us are not guaranteed of tomorrow. It’s not bad to recall your happy moments with your deceased loved one, there’s nothing wrong to think about him or her but it must be done in the light of the truth that they’re really gone. If you have regrets or guilt for failing to show your love and care to that person when they were still alive, do not always look back at the past and do not ponder on your shortcomings. No matter how remorseful you could be you cannot change the past. To always think and go back to the things that you should have done for your dead loved one won’t heal your broken heart and it would be harder for you to move on. To avoid this, do not sulk in the room alone. Go out and busy yourself with productive activities to make your mind busy. Go for a walk. Visit and do some changes to your garden. Do a craft project. Play with your kids. Visit your friends. Visit a sick person. If you’re an artist go out and do your artwork outdoor. Write a poem, a story where you can express how you feel. Talk to somebody that can give you good advice. These may help you move on faster.
But the best medicine for a broken you is prayer. Kneel down in the room alone. Go and pour out how you feel to God. If you are tired of heartaches seek His presence and ask God to heal your heart. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Life on earth is short. Looking at a face of a lifeless loved one lying inside a casket is a good reminder that one day we will also be lying inside that “bed”. We are just travelers in this world and each of us has an appointed time to breathe our last. But do not be dismayed for there’s a glorious place after this life. Jesus said in John 14:2-3 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” When Thomas asked Jesus the way going there: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Yes, my big brother is gone. I’m grieving because he will terribly be missed physically. But I am rejoicing because he is in a place where there’s no more pain, no more tears and no more sorrow. His physical struggles already came to pass, all are gone and he is now resting in God’s presence. These thoughts help me move on faster from the angst of losing him. So to those who are grieving, I hope and I pray that you will too. You can.