Posted by: jude49 | April 30, 2015

Coping With Sudden and Traumatic Deaths

Dear Friends,

In the last six months, I have had two dear friends experience sudden and traumatic deaths of their loved ones. Death is hard to cope with at any time, but there is an additional level of stress when deaths are unnatural and unexpected.

Here are some tips that hopefully will help you survive these difficult times…

  • Know that you will feel seemingly out-of-control when it comes to your emotions. You probably won’t be able to stop crying. It’s uncomfortable and it’s normal. Let the tears come. They are part of the grieving process. No apologies necessary.
  • You will feel tired. Your body will go into a natural depression to protect your organs. Your memory will fail you for awhile. It’s all normal.
  • Your body will probably ache all over. You will experience fatigue and yet not be able to sleep. Accept it. You don’t need to like it. Rest, even though you can’t sleep. Calming music or hymns will help your body and mind relax.
  • Get outside. Nature is one of the best healers I know of. Nature reflects the life cycle…birth to death. You are part of it. Take comfort in that you are not alone.
  • Let others help. We are wired to be connected. Sometimes people don’t know what to do or how to be. Tell them what you need. Some will want to give advice. You may have to tell them you don’t need advice or instructions on how to grieve. Everyone grieves in his/her own way. There is no one right way.
  • Trust your instincts. Sometimes counselling is helpful. If you feel you are burying your emotions by working too much, drinking too much, over-eating, get in touch with our local Hospice or a counsellor. You’ll know what you need. Trust your inner wisdom.
  • Replace the ugly, distressing last moments of your loved one’s death with happier memories. Privilege the positive!
  • Journal how you are feeling. Write down the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Talk to your loved one who died. This suggestion may sound unusual, but it can help. You can tell your loved one how much you miss him/her, how angry you are that s/he left you, etc. You can also ask for advice. Listen for the answers.
  • Death cannot stop your relationship. Yes, your loved one won’t walk on this physical earth again, but s/he will always be in your heart. You still walk together, just in a different way.
  • You won’t get over the death. Time dims rather than heals all wounds. The acute pain you feel now will fade and you will begin to integrate the death into your everyday living. Remember that nothing stays the same…
  • If you believe in a higher power, rely on it. Don’t expect to understand the whys of what happened. There are some things that can’t be understand on this earth. Focus on what will move you forward.
  • Give yourself kindness, love and compassion. Don’t fret over should haves, could haves or would haves. Accept that you coped in the best way you could at the time it happened. Stay away from judging yourself.
  • Talk about your loved one. Remember them…their quirks, their favorite sayings, those special looks, their favorite books/cd’s/songs…

Above all, remember LOVE. You had the wonderful opportunity to be loved, to love, to feel love. Death cannot take those memories away.





  1. A wonderful article, Judith. Thanks so much… hoping these suggestions will help me cope better than I am now.

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