We have all at least read or heard of such situations, and many of us are undoubtedly even more familiar with them. Or at least, we think we are. However, it is only when they actually occur that we come to realise how unprepared we are for them and how little we know about dealing with them. This is what I have been learning this week.
I have never personally been in the same scenario as my friend. Losing older relatives, yes, but I have never known anyone in their youth (19 in this case) who has had their life taken away from them in such an unfair manner. While I count my blessings for being this fortunate, it does mean that I am unable to relate to my friend's situation.
Sadly, a number of you fellow K5 readers will have been through this before, and to you I offer my condolences. However, it is to you that I turn for help and guidance now.
How are we supposed to help our friends in such situations? Sure, it's easy to say, we have to be there and support them, but what exactly is this supposed to mean?
In the present situation, my friend is unwilling to allow any of her friends (including myself) to see her or talk to her. In effect, she is shutting herself off from the outside world, with the exception of her parents and her counsellor.
Are we supposed to give one time to grieve by themselves? If yes, for how long? Or what happened to the concept that one does not have to deal with such pain by oneself? Is it not more harmful to distance yourself from any support networks that may be able to help you manage your grieving? How soon is too soon for encouraging moving beyond the denial and isolation?
This brings me to the question of, even if you get the opportunity to try help your friends in such a situation, what can you do? There is nothing anyone can do to bring back the dead. I have been led to believe, that time doesn't really heal pain. At least, not time by itself, when it only brings the illusion that one has learnt to cope?
In the longer term, say after a few months, even if you have accepted what has happened, how do you continue with your life? Surely it will never be the same again - so how should you change? I've heard a common thread is to try and see things differently. What does this really entail? What can you see differently? How do you see things differently? Is this saying that we should try to learn something from the loss?
Another issue is how does one actually go about mourning death? For example, in this case, the loved one was actually overseas for his studies, although they remained extremely close (and hence the depth of the loss). What if my friend is unable to attend his funeral? What would that do to the grieving process? I suppose the answer to this question varies with culture, and the different emphasis placed by each on a funeral itself.
Of course, there are many online resources that deal with this issue. The University of New York at Buffalo has this advice on the grieving process. The ADD has a more detailed article. These two are simply the top two of many results from a Google search on grieving process.
However, having read many such articles, I am finding it difficult to relate at times, especially in the area of putting this information to use - hence my appeal for some discussion on the subject, particularly from those with personal experiences. The number of questions here is only an indication of how little I know about this subject.
For any advice and discussion of your experiences, thank you in advance for sharing.