It is always not easy to hear that a person died and it is really hard to accept if a family member passed away. The first death that I can remember and that affected me was the death of my aunt, my father’s sister. I was still 12 years old at that time when it happened. I was not that close to her but a month before she died, we communicated often and she even asked permission to my father for me to spend my summer with her but my father declined. When we had the chance to spend time together years back, she spoiled me with toys and clothes, thus she became my favorite aunt. Her death came as a shock to all of us.
She had a motorcycle accident. Upon hearing the news, I could not believe my ears. My father and I flew immediately to their place and there I saw her remains. It was horror for me. She was such a healthy woman and it terrified me seeing her inside the coffin. My heart was crushed when I saw my father cried. It was my first time to see him cry. That was also the first ever funeral service that I attended to. When it was time to send her to her last resting place, we followed her wake by foot and during that long walk; almost all the cars that passed us by threw coins at us. My cousins explained that it’s a way of showing their sympathy to us.
I really can’t forget that experience because my cousins and I was so busy picking up the coins and it made me forget my grief. As Goodman (2000) has discussed, it is not unusual that people faced with sudden death experience “absent grief” and the initial reaction to the news is usually disbelief and shock. The most recent death in our family was the death of my aunt Elsa. She had peptic ulcer disease which escalated to carcinoma. We found out about her illness about a year ago and the progression of the disease was very rapid and none of us was ready for her rapid deterioration. After she died, I still can’t believe that she’s gone.
Every time I visit her working place, I still expect to hear her voice greet me and ask me what I want and how I’m doing. It’s really painful not to hear her voice ever again and not seeing her doing what she does best, taking care of the patients in the community. As much as possible, I try to avoid going to her once office because even up to now, I don’t want to be reminded that she’s gone forever. Goodman (2000) also pointed out that a grieving person may experience a feeling that the person is still living. Even though, Aunt Elsa’s death was really painful, the most painful death that I ever had was the death of my little brother.
He had a congenital heart disease, specifically tetralogy of fallot. Ever since he came into our lives, I didn’t treat him as fragile as he should have been because for me, he is a strong individual and that he can surpass every heart attack he had. Going to the hospital was a normal thing for me, since he was sick most of the time. When he was eight years old, upon arriving from school, I was informed that he was again admitted. I was very nonchalant about it but when I found out that he was in the intensive care unit that was the first time I felt fear for his health. When I entered the ICU, my heart just died upon seeing my brother.
There were so many tubes inserted in his body and the respirator and cardiac monitor was really getting to my nerves. I tried to wake him up but he won’t respond. I tried not to cry; I tried to be strong for him but the mere act of speaking was very difficult for me. I want to tell him how much I love him but I can’t speak. I don’t want him to hear my trembling voice and give away my emotion. It was very difficult because I know his time is running out and I can’t even tell him how much I do love him. The day after, I had to go to school but I wanted to stop by the hospital however, I was running late so I decided against it.
After school, I went directly to the hospital, but the ICU nurse said that he died 9:00 A. M. that day. I couldn’t believe my ears and I went home shocked. It was only when I saw him there, lying in the coffin that I believed that he already left. He left without me telling him how much I do love him. He left me. My brother’s death made me realize that anybody that I love can leave me without any notice, anytime. Now, I fear of being left by my parents. They are all that I have and I can’t stand a thought of them leaving me for good, forever. They’re both old and I know their time in our world is almost up.
I try to have myself ready for that dreadful day. I think, based on experience, my initial reaction would be disbelief then followed by numbness, which can last for several days. The numbness would then evolve into anger. I know I will be angry to myself for not being a loving daughter that I should have been and anger because they left me all alone. The stages of grief that are discussed by Smith (2009) are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. One lesson that my parents taught me after my brother passed away was life goes on.
People we care for and love do come and go but we continue to live. We should accept what we have or don’t and try to live life the way we should have. I believe that one can never forget one’s loss but he can only get used to living without the person. Thus, I know I have resolved my grief when I am already used to have a life empty of my loved one’s absence. This topic is so sensitive for me so I think it is appropriate for me to share my own experiences of grief with a client/ patient if it could give the patient assurance that after the heartache, he still can have a life.
Smith, M. , Jaffe, E. , & Segal, J. (2009). Coping with Grief and Loss: Support for grieving and bereavement. Retrieved May 11, 2010 from http://helpguide. org/mental/grief_loss. htm Goodman, R. F. , (2000). Coping with grief after a sudden death. Retreived May 11, 2010 from http://virginiatech. healthandperformancesolutions. net/Tech%20Trauma%20Articles/Articles/Coping%20With%20Grief%20After%20a%20Sudden%20Death. pdf