Dealing with Death

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Losing a loved one can be extremely tough to deal with. Murshidah Said delves deeply into her soul to share the ways that helped her come to terms with death.

Dealing with Death_Aquila Style

LOSING SOMEONE DEAR to you is one of the most painful experiences of life. Having gone through the passing of both my parents, I would like to share my personal experience on how to cope.

One way or another, we will all experience the passing of a loved one. After the loss of someone close, it is normal for you to feel all sorts of emotional turmoil like shock, anger, depression, disbelief and guilt. For some, there may be a reaction of blame for the death, increased negativity and even non-expression. These are all natural forms of grief. It is important to be aware of the stages of the grieving process and remember that people react differently to how grief is expressed.

A healthy way to deal with grief is to be patient with yourself and allow it to heal naturally. How you grieve also depends on other factors like your personality, lifestyle and the nature of the loss. Allow the expression of the grief to take place, no matter how it is being manifested. There may be mood swings—like high levels of joy and laughter—as a way to release the grief. There may also be some moments of quietness, tears and contemplation.

Take time to deal with your grief. One of the ways I deal with it is to share with my loved ones memories of, and love for, the deceased. My four-year-old daughter and I helped heal each other after my father’s passing. As a child, she was not able to fully understand the concept of death and she kept asking for her beloved grandfather. I sat down with her, sharing memories and photographs, and explained the truth about life and death – how we all come from Allah and we all will return to Him. How we live, love and prepare for our return to Him. I found that my explanation of this to her in this way helped both of us. It helped her understand why she could not see her beloved grandfather again, and it helped me to come to terms with my grief, too.

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

Some symptoms of grief that you may experience after the death of a loved one:

Shock or Denial Especially after an unexpected death, a surviving person may have trouble accepting that the loved one is really gone

Sadness You may cry a lot, be emotionally unstable or feel lonely. Some people may feel lost, especially if they were highly dependent on the deceased

Guilt Another expression of grief, where the surviving person feels that he or she should have done or said more during the lifetime of the deceased

Anger You may feel resentment and direct this negative emotion to another person, even to yourself. You may also feel the need to blame someone after the loss

Physical Symptoms You may experience a significant weight loss or gain, fatigue, getting sick easily, insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time

Dealing with Death_Aquila Style

TAKE TIME TO DEAL WITH YOUR GRIEF

Some basic steps you can take to deal with grief:

  1. Be Aware
    When you try to ignore the hurt, it will keep resurfacing in the long run. Face your grief and deal with it. Go through the process of forgiving yourself and say a prayer for the deceased and for yourself whenever you think it will help.
  2. Do Not Hide Your Feelings
    It is normal to feel sad, frightened or lonely when there is a loss of a loved one. Crying does not demonstrate weakness, and putting up a ‘brave front’ does not really help either. Be truthful about your feelings.
  3. Cry—Or Don’t
    For some people, crying is an expression of releasing grief. For others, it is not. You do not have to force the tears out. There are other ways to express your grief.
  4. Express Your Feelings
    If you are unable to express yourself verbally or physically, try jotting down your feelings in a journal. You may also write a ‘letter’ to the deceased saying the things you never got to say. I have learnt that expressing my gratitude to Allah for having blessed my life with the dearly departed helps, too.
  5. Use Your Support System
    This was one of the ways that helped me go through my grief. My family and friends were very supportive, especially during the early stages after my parents’ deaths. Connecting with others can aid in the healing process. Praying together helps too.
  6. Draw Comfort from Allah
    This was the best way for me in dealing with my grief. I gave my thanks for everything that Allah had given me in this transitory life. Turning to Allah helps us be at peace.

And I also always remind myself of this verse: ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un’, which is part of Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156.

It means ‘indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’

 

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2011 issue of Aquila Style

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