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Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sun Jul 22, 2001 2:29 pm

About an hour ago I was prepared to go out. There were plans for us tonight. And I got a call from my friend Robert. But it wasn't the information I had expected. He wasn't calling to tell me where everyone was meeting. He was crying.

Nothing's going on, he said. He had just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend, and my great friend, Julie. Her grandmother had just died.

She was 75. The last I saw her was this last Tuesday. Julie had invited friends to her cabin in Vermont, and I was one of them. It was not my first time meeting her grandma though. Her grandma, though 75, acted and looked much younger than her age.

Her hair was still a beautiful red and she still had the strong hand, face, and body gestures of someone much younger. She was a riot to be around too: always the chatty cathy, she had wonderful stories to tell us, and was a witty lady to boot. She had married a Harvard PHd, after all.

But now--she's gone. I will never get to see her again; I will never get to appreciate the youthful vibrance of this extraordinary elder. Julie, my god, has lost her closest family member other than her parents.

This is only the second time I've experienced the death of someone I've known. The first was of a classmate in high school who I had actually been friends with all the way back when I first met him in elementary school. In high school, althought we were far from friends, he was in my french classes. He died the summer of my sophomore year in a car accident which killed him and burned and took the leg of another classmate.

When I first heard his death, I was both shocked (it was my first experience with human death) and felt a loss. Though I did not really know him anymore, I knew him pretty well when I was a little kid, I played with him. What disturbed me was that the loss I felt was very short-lived. It felt almost wrong.

As Robert sat on the phone expressing his sadness and sobbing, I felt an even deeper sadness. And you know what? That sadness ended after 5 minutes that I got off the phone. To try and keep my mind on something else, I had gone to the forums, posting and reading. When I laughed at something someone wrote on here, I stopped. I felt disturbed again. Talking, hearing the voice of, others helped me bring some perspective. I shouldn't have taken my mind off it. I had a duty to mourn. I was glad to know this woman, although for only briefly.

I supposed the reason why Robert was so dejected, and I was at first merely chagrined after beibg shocked, was because Julie is his girlfriend. They have intentions on marriage. They are very close, and I would expect his sorrow to go hand in hand with hers. And he explained that her grandma was like his only grandma, because he had not gotten to know any of his grandparents due to their deaths before his birth.

My god, how Julie must feel. Her best friend Lindsey is coming over to spend the night tonight. I can't call her tonight though, it is not appropriate. Tomorrow I will be giving a call to express my condolences and grief.

Her mom was there when she died. Just picturing myself in the family's position, I feel a great loss now. I must say, it did disturb me very much that I was laughing at something less than 30 minutes after I heard the news. I'm still not at the point of crying, though I feel I should be tearing up. Instead, I'm sitting here, typing this, now feeling a pain in my heart similar to loneliness, thwarted love, or extreme anxiety.

I felt compelled to write this. And I am glad I did. Unlike talking with other people, I was not able to fully asses my emotional standing, rather than try to rush out an explanation when talking to someone.

I've never been to a funeral. I've been to the service of a teacher (who I did not know), but I've never seen a full casket. Soon I will probably be attending my first one.

Though I'm still disturbed. Why am I not crying. I think it would be better to cry than feel this great sag of my heart. I wonder how I will sleep tonight.

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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sun Jul 22, 2001 2:41 pm

You obviously aren't shaken as much as some people over the death. The best thing you can do is comfort those in grief (eg: hugs, cheerful words, etc.) Tell them not to grieve over her death but to remember all the good times with her, and remind them that she has gone to the better place (coming from a religious chap like me  Big grin )
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sun Jul 22, 2001 2:48 pm

No matter what, life will go on... and on, and on....
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sun Jul 22, 2001 5:44 pm

When I got the news that my grandpa had passed away I did not feel like I wanted to cry, even though I had just spend two months around him and lived around him for the first 10 years of my life. Even though he was everything anyone might want in a grandpa somehow I did feel like I needed to cry. I only shed a few tears when I first saw him in the casket but my eyes remained dry through the whole funeral until I had laid down to bed that I cried a little remembering all the things we did together and so on.

The worst part of the whole ordeal was my moms reaction when she heard the news(I got a family friend brake it too her, I could not do it) and her crying at the funeral.

THe concluison I drew from my experience is that some people accept what has happened in a more civilized manner and offer their respects without crying their eyes out. I sort of accepted what had happened and found no reason to insanly cry about it. So dont feel bad about not crying, if you dont feel you need than it simply means that you views on death may be diffrent then those of the majority. Keep in mind that some cultures see death as a happy occasion and celebrate in place of crying and mourning.

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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:24 am

I lost my mom and both my grandparents, which I was very close to, when I was between 18 and 20. Everyone handles dying and grief in a different way....there is no right and wrong. However you handle it...whatever comes out....is okay. Don't feel guilty because you didn't act, or react, in a certain way. Be there for the person who is hurt and be willing to talk about the good times and good things you learned from the person who died. There is some truth to the saying that time heals all wounds....but not completely.
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Tue Jul 24, 2001 10:27 am

Death can be a very hard thing to deal with, and we all do it differently. When my grandmother died I don't think I cried right away. It wasn't a shock because she had been very sick with cancer, but I still felt my heart sink when I heard the news. I had been out all night partying and having a good time only to come home and hear she'd died. I felt a little guilty. Then it hit me one night a while later that she was gone and I started bawling. I felt like I'd had the sweetest grandma and didn't deserve her. She'd lent me money to buy a car and I'd never even gotten to finish paying her back.

This is the most recent death of a family member I've experienced. I know that when it's my parents' time to go I'll be a wreck. This is something that scares the living hell out of me. The same goes for close friends and my brother.
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Tue Jul 24, 2001 11:49 am

Sorry to hear your sad news!  Smile But the only guarantee in Life, is Death.
Topic Author
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:34 pm

Well thanks for what y'all have had to say. The services are in the upcoming week.

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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Tue Jul 24, 2001 3:48 pm

I kinda know what you mean--

A guy I knew at school that I had some classes with was recently killed in an accident. I wasn't a really good friend, just knew the guy and had talked a bit. But I just couldn't get over it... it was all I could think about for two weeks. I was kind of depressed, lots of people around me were depressed-- a really bad situation. It took me a lot longer than you, but I was finally able to laugh at things and have a good time without thinking of the mangled car flipped over on the side of the road with two bodies in it. Don't feel bad at all for laughing at something or having a good time-- I felt bad at first, too, but it is really good for you to do those things.

That was my first real experience with loosing someone I knew. I have lost both of my grandfathers, but those both happened before I had matured and fully come to understand death.

I'm sorry to hear your news... I know it is a terrible feeling.
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sat Jul 28, 2001 11:57 am

I grieve with thee...

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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sat Jul 28, 2001 6:16 pm

I feel I must recall the old Buddhist adage - the dead are many, but the living are few......

The irrevocable fact is that we all die. I don't know if you are religious or not, but I believe that our consciousness continues in some form after our death and this gives me comfort.

It may sound wierd, but I grieved more when my dog died than when my grandfather passed away. I guess it just goes to show how attached we can get to pets, eh.....
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sat Jul 28, 2001 8:22 pm

My grandmother died not long ago. Since I live in Malta with my family and she lived in the Czech Rep, very far away, I hadn't seen her since September 2000 but we were looking forward to see her this August when we were supposed to come. Then my dad's brother phoned up that she was in hospital because she had had a stroke. She wasn't conscious but since she had gotten over many health problems, I was confident that she would get over this, too. My dad booked a flight and was to see her in hospital there.
Then, on the morning of the day he was supposed to depart, his brother phoned that she had passed away. I heard the conversation but stayed in bed and I couldn't cry, think or do anyhing. But when I got up and talked to my mum about it, I started crying a lot because I realized how much she had done for us all. I didn't attend the funeral but when my dad came back, I was so touched by the poem on the printed announcement of her death that I was almost going to cry again.
It will be hard this August when we reach the house where she lived alone for so many years and when I once again see all the things she used, the garden she loved so much and so on... The worst thing is the thought that the house will have to be sold and I'll never see it again.
But that's how life is, life goes on no matter what.
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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Sun Jul 29, 2001 5:31 pm

My friend that I knew from since 3rd grade died in a small plane crash. I havent seen him since the 8th grade and found that he died in the newspaper. I was very shocked and saddened.

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RE: Dealing With The Death Of Someone You Know

Mon Jul 30, 2001 7:37 am

I just had to add to this post. I just heard that a young guy who used to live next door to me years ago died on Friday. Apparently he just went to bed and didn't wake up. I don't know what happened exactly yet. He was only about 21. It's so sad, it's gotten me really freaked out. We'd just been talking about him Friday too.

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