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How to Deal with Grief

Connie Huerta

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Without ever having lost someone close to you, it hits you like a brick when it actually happens. As someone who had never lost anyone close to me, I was always the one telling others, “I’m sorry for your loss,” yet I never thought someone would be telling me that.

However, when the tables were turned, I felt an emptiness in my chest. My mind was blank. How do you even respond to that? You can’t say, “It’s okay, don’t worry about it,” because it’s not okay, but it is a part of life.

You can’t say “Thanks,” because what is there to be thankful for? The thought that crosses your mind is always: Why now? Why them? But let’s be honest; there’s never great timing for a life to be taken away.

Hearing, “God does everything for a reason,” is also the worst because it is hard to think about why God would want to cause so much pain. Even worse is when you are actually traumatized by their death and found their corpse or had them die in your arms.

My grandmother, who contributed in raising me, died in her sleep (most likely due to a heart attack), and I found her on her deathbed while I was with my mother and cousin on a Sunday morning. The image was stuck in my head, and it was all I thought about for almost a year. I would constantly replay the incident of when I found her or when the morgue pulled her out of the house, and people could see the pain in my eyes, in my soul.

It was practically impossible for me to cope with this. I did not know how. How was I supposed to know what would help me get through the pain–through the pain the hole in my chest was causing me? It took me a while for me to actually find what helped me.

Eventually, I found that in order to get through the difficult situation, I had to try my best to express my sorrow through writing and isolation, because to me, that was how I was able to stay close to her, as well as staying connected with nature, because I knew her spirit was now free.

I was able to let out everything that I had bottled up with writing. Writing was a great outlet to help me express all the sorrow that my tongue was not able spit out onto a piece of paper. If it were not for writing, I would be mentally distraught because of the fact that keeping things to myself would not benefit me in anyway.

The key to easing the pain is doing something that makes you feel connected to the loved one you have lost. Even doing something they enjoyed doing, like going to the park, the movies, sewing, reading, etcetera.

There is no one thing in particular to do that will benefit your well-being, however. Cristina Abadilla, a staff member in the Health and Wellness center (found in K-10 by the outer left side of K Hall) has a few words about this. Given that for a living she helps out students with any mental issues, she was able to say that “You have to allow yourself to be able to go through different emotions such as: anger, sadness, even denying what happened.”

Part of the process of dealing with grief is to allow yourself to have emotions. There is no need to try to act differently or act unaffected because it is obvious that death is not something easy to deal with. If anything, it is best to cry it out in order to release the pain.

The key to dealing with this  type of pain or loss is to let time take its course. With time, the pain lessens; however, knowing that your loved one is not with you does not make it any easier. Yet you can find ways to cope with it and learn how to deal with it.

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How to Deal with Grief