My 6 Year Old Won Talk To Me About Feelings What the Loss of a Loved One Taught Me

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What the Loss of a Loved One Taught Me

Death has always been a difficult subject, and we all fear that day when we lose a loved one. That day came to me six years ago, when I got word that my best friend had died in a car accident the night before. I was devastated, but through this experience, I was able to learn some very important life lessons. These lessons, although difficult, helped shape me into the person I am today.

1) The five stages of grief are real, real.

Everyone talks about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, negotiation, depression, acceptance. It is talked about so much that it is more like a myth than a fact. I am here to tell you, however, that they are all very, very real, and very invisible.

I didn’t think the five stages of grief were real until I got that heartbreaking call. It wasn’t until then that I learned that it’s not just something that happens; they last a very long time the further down the list you go.

When I first heard the news, I was in complete denial. For a few days, I had convinced myself that it was just a cruel joke. That he was going to come into my room and lay on my bed and tell me it was just a big lie. As soon as I realized that no, this was not a sick joke, I moved between bargaining and anger for three weeks, then through depression for months. Then more anger. Depression. For almost a whole year until I finally accepted it, no matter how low or angry I got, it wasn’t coming back. I had to figure out how to deal with this one way or another.

2) You become closer to family than you thought possible.

It was my best friend’s mother who called me. We cried together on the phone for hours, begging God (or a higher power) for it not to be true. At the funeral, I cried with so many people. Some I knew, some I didn’t. I thought that after the funeral we would all move apart, live our own lives and sometimes go through Facebook, but not really talk.

The complete opposite happened. His mother and I are closer than ever. It is the same with his sisters and even some of his friends. We are all friends on Facebook, and most of us talk about what’s going on in our lives at least once a month. I became a bigger part of the family than I had ever been before. Although we have moved on and live independent lives, the bond we created over this loss is never going to break.

3) You still think about them, even years later.

Living without your loved one gets a little easier over time, but no matter how long it’s been you’ll always think about them. Accepting it doesn’t mean you miss them any less. Don’t worry, though, it’s completely normal to do this.

I have talked about my best friend and what I had to go through, but my mother was in a similar situation. Her father died when she was seventeen, and when I was younger I would catch her crying. When I asked her what was wrong she always said the same thing, “I’m thinking about my father.” She would have dreams about him and wake up thinking he was still alive. The same thing happened with my father when both of my grandparents died. Same with me and my best friend. From time to time when we gather, we talk about everyone. Dad remembers it when he was a teenager and my mum always tells me the story of driving a tractor with her dad when she was five. Now that I’m old enough, I tell them about the late nights I used to leave the house to go to events (mostly to Sonic).

Even when a loved one is gone, they never go away. You still have the memories you made together. Although it may be difficult to remember at first, it will eventually bring you comfort.

4) Support networks are everywhere.

As I went through the five stages of grief, especially anger and depression, it felt like I had no one to talk to. I didn’t know how to talk to my parents at the time, my peers had their own coping mechanisms, and my best friend… well… he was gone. It wasn’t until months later that I discovered a number of websites and businesses specifically suited to dealing with grief.

Of course, you can always go to your favorite religious building. Some people find comfort in religion, but I was not one of those people. So, I searched “How to deal with loss” on the internet, and so many things came up. From articles on how to deal with grief to phone numbers and websites talking specifically about how to deal with loss. There are so many different options for help, you just have to find it. Personally, I chose to join a sharing group for a while, as well as personal therapy and about a dozen forums. Letting my feelings out not only made me feel better, listening to other people let me know I wasn’t alone.

Loss is a big part of growing up, whether it’s a parent, a close relative, or a friend. Eventually, we are going to lose someone before we expect it. You are not alone and good coping habits are the best way to cope. Seeking guidance or counseling is also a very helpful tool. Whatever you do, though, remember the memories and smile.

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