Of course, some deaths can be more traumatizing than others. One thing is to lose your father when he is 90 years old, and has lived a prolific and producing happier existence. A very different situation is to lose your beloved four-year old child, from a tragedy, or a disease. It is a kind of pain way more difficult to deal with, and the existence itself can turn into a nightmare of depression, affliction, melancholy and despair, with no light at the end of the tunnel. This kind of pain, besides being difficult to deal with, turns normality in daily life difficult to repair, and, literally, only time can restrain some damages, although, in almost situations of this kind, doesn’t repair much. There’s no known cure for such a tragedy. Time may turn things into a more static, bearable, lethargic state, but can’t repair all kinds of pain.
Several persons turn to religion, and God, for answers and consolation in such a difficult moment in life. You may not be a religious person, but this kind of help can improve your life, although that will highly depend on your set of beliefs.
Human beings usually don’t think about death until it happens. The idle and inherently indolent human nature never compels the vast majority of human beings about wondering the onset of their own mortality, until sometimes it’s too late. If more people were able to have thoughts of these kind, they will certainly make a real effort to do more significant things in their lives, like helping the poor and the destitute, the less fortunate, taking care of abandoned and mistreated animals, setting up charities, giving their time and money for valuable causes, since the greatest thing we can achieve in life is helping our fellow human beings, that suffer, grieve, cry and agonize, a lot more than we think they do. I like very much of a saying by American president, Ronald Reagan, that once said: It is impossible to take care of everybody, but everybody can always help somebody. And if everybody in the world could take care of one person? Wouldn’t the world be a lot different than it is?
In his case, we learn specifically that his pain made the difference in others people’s lives, and this can be a great example for all of us. He built from the ashes and the misery of his existence a reason to live for, and to help others. You can transform pain into hope for others, and that hope certainly can make the difference in the lives of desperate and depressed people. We all can do the same, although this takes, for sure, a lot of determination and perseverance, that we can’t always find in ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes, we just want to sit down and cry. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s part of being human.
We know that disappearances, in the great majority of cases, are deaths without the body ever being found or recovered. More recently, I saw another documentary about a Canadian teenage girl that went missing, four years ago. The almost one hour documentary featured mostly her parents, talking about the circumstances on which she vanished, the searching that immediately followed, their dealing with the terrible and painful absence of their daughter, and the ongoing searches in the present day. The part on which the mother of the missing girl talked about the unbearable pain that she and her husband has undergone for the past four years are the most emotional, and you are not human if you’re throat are not twisted at her painful speech. A great suffering sometimes can be unbearable, and the amount of strength you have to reclaim for yourself in order to keep living can be painstakingly inhuman.
So, one more time we hit the unbearable question: There is a proper way in dealing with the loss of a beloved person? There is a correct way to deal with death? Unfortunately, there is not. And even if there was a magical formula in dealing with such a terrible thing, human beings are so diverse and respond to death in so many different ways that such a formula would be rendered useless in just a matter of seconds.
Death can be a test to our strength, our patience, our life, our routine, and life as we know it, to the personal will of keep living it. And, although there is no magical words that will make you feel good, one thing you can never do: blame yourself, even if you remotely think that the tragedy was your fault. Guilt and denial only makes an already terrible and dark situation even worse, so you have to fight hard to think clearly, and not descend into deep depression, since this feature is common in someone who experienced a terrible loss.
But we can always remember that even in these situations we can do useful things: be the strength to others, who are feeling the same pain and dealing with the same loss. We can be the support others need, we can be strong for the ones who aren’t. And, in this kind of situation, such a help is always useful, and cannot be minimized. It can be painstakingly difficult, but we can find strength in pain, and be, in the face of death, the shoulders on which other people can cry upon, while being the arms holding and relieving them of their grief, at least a little. As strange as it could feel, we can have a positive, beneficial and lovely attitude in relation to death, making from our own grief a bridge to help others.
Death is probably the most difficult thing to endure in life, and, with no existing guideline or textbook about dealing with it, it will always impose its hardships. It is at this precise moment in life that the ones involved should swallow their pride if they have differences, and find consolation in one another. Death is hard to endure when you have family and friends, but it is almost impossible to overcome if you’re completely alone, and will turn eventually into an extremely corrosive feature.
So, if you’re going through this horrible ordeal, ask for help, talk to somebody, ask for a hug. Speak up about everything you are feeling. Death is no child’s play. It’s a sad and serious personal injury, invisible to the world, but very apparent in your soul. But the size of the scars it will leave depends entirely on your attitude, behavior and response towards it. And you can be a strong person, even if you think you can’t.