The Storm of Losing a Loved One:  Mourning Made Easier 

Skylar Halsey, Writer

The loss of a loved one is a tragedy that no one should ever have to experience. As someone who lost two people who were both immensely important to me in the past year, I can understand the lost feeling that is part of the process. In June of 2019, my grandma and I were enjoying a grandma-granddaughter vacation. Unfortunately, the vacation ended with her having a heart attack in the hotel room, later passing on July 2nd. Exactly one year later, I was on vacation with friends and I got a call from my step-mother saying my dad had been in a lethal motorcycle accident. It had seemed like death followed me and the mourning would never end. Even still, there´s good days and bad days. I´m still learning what works best for me, and everyone is different, but the past year and a half has prepared me for nearly anything in life, especially on how to deal with death. Though losing a loved one will always be difficult and mourning will be full of ups and downs, there are many things that will help ease the inevitable pain; speaking to friends and family, accepting all ¨unprovoked¨ emotions with open arms, and connecting with the passed on friend or family member will help to make the slow and dreadful task of grieving more comfortable and as easy as can possibly be. 

The use of therapy has become widely more acceptable and openly talked about. People often even go to monthly or bimonthly therapy sessions just to have a safe space. This is an amazing tool to use while mourning. However, this is not always cheap. A fantastic alternative, and one that personally has worked better for me, is talking to friends and family. Doing this helps to get rid of any feelings of being alone on the awful journey. Knowing that there’s always someone to turn to and rely on for a shoulder to cry on or even just a hug is freeing in itself. Having my mom and sister to talk to, friends to spend time doing fun things with me, or my step-mom to go out to dinner with helped tremendously while dealing with the losses of my grandmother and dad. Keeping what needs to be said bottled up will never benefit anyone. 

That rule of not keeping things bottled up also applies to the turbulent feelings that come with mourning. Unfortunately, the progress of grieving is not linear. The feelings that tag along come and go with no valid reasoning or logic; the smallest little thing could set off a whole load of sadness and anger. The thing about this is that, oftentimes, people try to suppress the feelings and act as though they were okay and not hurting. Doing this does nothing but further hurt the person hiding their true emotions. Accepting the feelings and being open will help to receive the help that will greatly aid. Sometimes something as small and odd as a picture of a fish will remind me of dad and it will impact my mood for the rest of the day. Instead of getting angry at myself for being sad or trying to hide the feelings, I feel the sadness while needed so that I can continue the rest of the day or week with happiness. 

Connecting with my deceased loved ones was difficult at first. With the help of therapy, I found ways that made me feel at peace. While it´s different for everyone, the ways that help me are visiting the gravesite, visiting the crash site, writing letters to my dad and grandma, looking at pictures, and keeping things that once belonged to them. For very religious people, practicing prayer and going to church are great ways to stay connected. I often visit my dad´s crash site and I bring a small amount of ashes in a necklace with me everywhere. I go to my grandma´s cemetery often with my mom and our family makes sure we do every single thing that she loved during the holidays; she was so in love with the idea of family coming together to celebrate love and health. These things help to continue the memory of our loved ones while keeping that feeling of connection. Remembering the person through love and good memories will help to bring good thoughts and feelings when you think of them, instead of sadness and grief. 

All of these things have been vital in my mourning process. While the loss of someone you love will never be easy and the pain will always hurt, speaking with friends, being open to feeling, and staying connected to the loved ones can help to make the process of relearning life without someone so important a bit easier. It is different for everyone, as everyone mourns in their own way and has their own coping mechanisms, I’m sure that these three things will help the bumpy road to being okay.