by Carlene Lehmann, M.A., LMFT
Dealing with the death of a loved one can bring a mixture of emotions
You may feel relief that they are no longer suffering or shock at a sudden loss. You may feel confused or lost as to what your place is in the world. You may even feel angry at your loved one for abandoning you. These are all normal feelings to have. Sometimes their death causes us to think about the impermanence of life and evaluate how we are living our life. When we experience the death of someone close to us how we cope with it depends a lot on the support we have from others. We all process our feelings differently. We may find it helpful to talk to someone, journal, write a song, paint, or spend time out in nature.
Allow yourself time to process your loved one’s death
It’s important to allow yourself time to process their death. The world continues along and you’ve lost someone very important to you. Please be gentle with yourself if life feels messy or you are not “put together” like you usually are. You aren’t expected to be perfect. You are allowed to take all the time you need to heal at the pace that is best for you.
Accept help where it is needed
Sometimes it’s hard for us to ask for or accept things from others if we’ve learned to be very self-sufficient. Allowing your friends and family to help you and letting them in can be hard, but the rewards are great. We need each other and sometimes we just need someone to sit with us, bring us a meal, or listen. If we don’t let them in we won’t be able to experience their support. It’s a tender and vulnerable time so we need to be thoughtful about who we let in- those we trust and who have compassion.
Dealing with death is an ever evolving process as we age and go through milestones. It can affect us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. There is a part of our life that will never be the same, but with time we can make sense of our loss and integrate into our life. It can transform us and help us connect more deeply with ourselves and others helping us live our life to the fullest knowing that we never know how long we have to live.
Carlene Lehmann, M.A., LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Relationships Matter Austin in Austin, Texas. Carlene has experience supporting families through the death of a loved one. It can be helpful to have someone to support you during this delicate time. To schedule your appointment with Carlene, you can reach her at (512) 994-0432 or request an appointment with her on the Relationships Matter Austin Scheduling Page.