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How does one deal with the sudden death of a loved one?

By Chancellor Martok in Op-Ed
Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 11:48:21 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

I discovered earlier this week that a close friend has had the unfortunate experience of losing a loved one in a car accident. To say that she is finding it extremely difficult to cope would be a distinct understatement.

When such tragedies occur, how can we help our friends in such a situation? Is there anything we can do at all, even? Or is time the only way to heal such pain? The short answer is, I haven't a clue.


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.

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Poll
How long did it take you to come to terms with suddenly losing a loved one?
o Less than a month. 8%
o A month. 7%
o A year. 12%
o Five years. 6%
o Ten years. 2%
o Twenty years. 0%
o A lifetime, and I'm still not over it. 11%
o I have thankfully never been in such a situation. 51%

Votes: 81
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o advice on the grieving process
o more detailed article
o Google search on grieving process
o Also by Chancellor Martok


Display: Sort:
How does one deal with the sudden death of a loved one? | 43 comments (33 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Rephrase title (none / 0) (#3)
by cvou on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:21:59 PM EST

It makes no sense.

How does one deal with the loss of sudden death?

Shouldn't it be:

How does one deal with the sudden loss of a loved one?

Very difficult (5.00 / 3) (#7)
by HenryR on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:28:20 PM EST

Accept that grieving more often than not really messes you up, and that different people's reactions are extremely different.

Your main focus should be twofold: provide whatever support she needs (and not necessarily what you think she wants) and second to make sure that no long-term harm is caused by her grief.

These may seem contradictory, and as you've found it's very difficult to do both. You have to be completely understanding (and I mean completely - whatever she does or says to you, do your best to take it on the chin. Some people lash out at everyone that's nearby). Support her by considering her feelings at all times - don't necessarily pussy-foot around her, but always try and think through anything you say or do. Allow her to be unreasonable, and changeable.

Depending on the circumstances, funerals are often a good point to start moving towards acceptance. Of course this is dependent on culture and custom, but I have found that people come to terms at a funeral. A wake afterwards, again dependent on preference, may restore some happiness, and pleasure at having none the one that died.

Most of this is obvious. But you just have to do it, and let her come to terms in her own time. If you can gently guide her towards `recovery' then do, but don't impose your own timetable.

Henry
----------------------------
http://www.desiderate.co.uk

Been through it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by BadDoggie on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:29:02 PM EST

The best thing I can say to this is what my mother[1] wrote to my ex-mother-in-law, whose husband died suddenly in a car wreck[2] in April:

"I can tell you that although time does not heal, it does make it easier."

[1] My father died slowly from cancer last year.
[2] He probably had a heart attack while he was driving and was DOA, most likely at impact.

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

Sick joke alert (3.18 / 11) (#11)
by wiredog on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:51:19 PM EST

When I go, I want to go quietly, in my sleep, like my father-in-law.

Not screaming in terror, like the passengers in his car.

Feel free to 0, but I had to say it.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

I have an idea (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by theR on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:43:52 PM EST

Did you know that there are professionals that dedicate their whole careers to answering questions like this? Not just in a general sense, but also helping people cope on an individual basis, to find out what one specific person that has been affected by such a loss can do that may help. Such a person could possibly help both you and your friend.



You mean philosophers, right? (none / 0) (#27)
by MMcP on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 08:12:55 PM EST

nt.

[ Parent ]
Nope (sorry if you were joking) (none / 0) (#28)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 10:50:09 PM EST

Philosophers usually work on the general case. Shamans, psychologists, and bartenders work on the particular case.

[ Parent ]
just be there (4.75 / 4) (#12)
by xah on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 01:54:36 PM EST

Generally, it's really simple. Just be there. You don't have to say a word. Err on the side of saying nothing. When you're there, in the room, sitting at the same table, or whatever, just listening, that's the most important thing you can do. Remembering the deceased in an honest and memorializing way can also help.

If you can't be there, because of distance or because the bereaved is not taking visitors, then send a card.

If I were you.. (1.36 / 19) (#14)
by undermyne on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:13:07 PM EST

I would take this opportunity to get her into bed. Nothing like a good shag to get your mind off of other peoples problems...

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

Very good suggestion (1.00 / 2) (#18)
by _cbj on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:50:10 PM EST

Sex will get a mind off its own problems too, and in perhaps the most useful way possible at a time of grief.  I'd advise the original poster to suggest it to his friend, even if he doesn't have much of a shot himself.

Fucking is probably the best thing to do in most circumstances, come to think of it.

[ Parent ]

You're wrong... (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by vyruss on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 03:26:59 PM EST

... Fucking is a village in Austria !!

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
She's talking to her parents and a counsellor? (3.87 / 8) (#15)
by greyrat on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 02:27:33 PM EST

Then keep your piehole shut and stay out of her hair. Don't speak unless spoken to. Don't act unless asked to do something.

This is especially true if the counsellor is a trained professional who knows how to deal with this kind of situation.

It sounds more like you want to know how to deal with your own feelings over a friends loss of a loved one.
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

Eh... (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by crcerror on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:03:32 PM EST

Then keep your piehole shut and stay out of her hair. Don't speak unless spoken to. Don't act unless asked to do something.

Well, I partially agree with this. Don't directly interfere with her mourning unless she asks but remember to be around and be there for her as she goes through it. It's slightly different but along the same lines, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, a number of my friends and friends of the family stayed away entirely. This was mainly because they didn't know how, and didn't want to know how, to deal with their mortality. Whether caused by a death, or serious illness, a number of people that you're close to will suddenly shy away because they can't handle coping with their own thoughts. So IMHO, call her up and see how she's doing occasionally, take her out to coffee but don't bring up the subject of her loss unless she brings it up first. Give her a chance to get away from it for a short while if that's what she wants.

It sounds more like you want to know how to deal with your own feelings over a friends loss of a loved one.

There's something to be said for that though. As I said above, many people need to cope with their own mortality when something like this happens and so don't fault him for trying to figure out his own feelings on the matter before trying to help his friend.

[ Parent ]
Just be there for her (3.66 / 3) (#20)
by skim123 on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 03:53:16 PM EST

Time heals all wounds, and life is for the living. Of course, in the short future, she will need someone's shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, etc. I had a close friend who lost his sister when she was 17, and they were very close siblings. It's been four years or so, we still talk about her every now and then, but, as I said, life goes on. Initially it was very hard for him, but you just be there for your friend, reminisce about the good times, hug them when they need a hug, and just let them know that you're there for them. It will all work out in the end. Death is a natural part of life, and while it can be quite hard to lose someone so young, we'll all experience deaths of loved ones, including ourselves, at some point in our lives. Part of the cycle...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Just leave her alone (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by majik on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 06:09:52 PM EST

the general consensus here is correct. just be there, don't say anything unless asked, and err on the side of saying too little. 4 years ago my first real love died in a head on with a semi truck. lemme tell ya. that was fucking tough. i was in absolute shock for most of the time. i'm one of those guys that never cries. but being at the funeral, it way too much for me. closed casket. and as everything was ending (i wasn't listening to what was said) they slowly wheeled the casket out... and i just broke. absolutely shattered. i didn't make it to the burial. i couldn't. and for a long time i didn't talk about it... i wouldn't talk about it. anytime someone mentioned her, i would just leave. so give your friend some space. and time. time helps.
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
Naive curiosity here... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by MMcP on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 08:11:19 PM EST

If it is actually possible to answer this question, please do:
Would it have made things easier to have somebody to talk to - a therapist, maybe a diary/journal?

What I am wondering is if maybe the grieving process may have been expedited by having an outlet.  But then again, a person in ultra-grieving mode isn't going to listen to reasonable statements like "talking about things should make them easier"


[ Parent ]

not for me (none / 0) (#30)
by majik on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 03:18:02 AM EST

everyones different, but really i just wanted to be left alone, and let me figure things out by myself.
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]
Grief is not a disease (none / 0) (#37)
by jolly st nick on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 03:21:27 PM EST

it is a fact of life. I am dubious of therapists or therapy in this connection. Of the idea that things must be talked through. When the time comes, this will be true, but the shocked muteness of grief is not the same thing as the obstinate muteness of psychoanalytic resistance. Forcing yourself to talk to somebody or write down your thoughts when faced with something of the enormity of the death of a loved one will only compound grief with futility.

A healthy person with the support of friends and family can and will guide himself through grieving.



[ Parent ]

Be "normal". (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 07:34:12 PM EST

Don't treat her like china - that will just remind her of her grief.

OTOH - be sensitive to her actual emotional state at the moment; grief has a way of cropping up when least expected and everyone copes with grief differently - and often differently than they think they will. I like to consider myself unflappable - but after my father died it was a good six months before I was completely back to normal. During that period I even developed a power taste for sitting by myself in the car and listening to "Whitey Ford Sings the Blues".

Basicly, if it seems like she's looking for support - give it to her, but if she looks like she's trying for control, give her space to regain it.


--
The gift that lasts a lifetime: Give your child "mental blocks" this christmas!


My advice (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by theantix on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 07:48:16 PM EST

I've lost someone very close to me once, and I have one piece of advice for you, and it's VERY important.  Remember at all times that everyone handles grief differently.  Some people want to be busy and keep their mind off it, others want to to dwell on the loss and spend a lot of time mourning.  One way isn't wrong, or another right -- that's a bad way of looking at it.

I would suggest that you spend some time with your friend, and find out what she is looking for, and just try to be there for her.  Since she doesn't want to see anyone, write her a letter saying that you are thinking of her, and are there if she needs you.  If she continues to not want to see anyone, try to respect that -- so long as it doesn't continue for a really long time.

If you want more personal advice, feel free to write me, my contact information is on my user page.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!

One of the things to remember (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by aphrael on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 10:53:18 PM EST

is also that people who are dealing with grief often don't *know* what they want, especially if it's their first time, and tend to highly erratic mood swings.

[ Parent ]
Well that's the thing... (none / 0) (#34)
by Chancellor Martok on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 12:02:26 PM EST

Are we supposed to somehow 'guide' them through the process? They don't know what they want or need. We don't know what they want. Maybe we know what the theoretically need. What gives?

-----
Chancellor Martok  in Sydney, Australia
"Castrate instead. That can surely rehabilitate. I did it volunatrily, and my grades went up!"  -- Sen

[ Parent ]
A Thought on the Process (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by virg on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 02:08:15 PM EST

Since grief can be a really screwy time, and your friend is in contact with a counselor, I think your best bet is to wait it out. That is, make sure she can get to you if she needs you, then don't do anything specific other than renew the assurance of contactability on a regular basis. There's also the option of asking her counselor (or other relatives) what, if anything, you could do to make things easier. Her counselor won't want to tell you anything confidential, but will often be able to suggest some actions that won't hurt and might help.

Unfortunately, the whole "be there" idea entails a lot of doing little to nothing, but just being available is actually doing more than you think. When I lost a good friend in his prime, and I was spinning in place trying to get everything back together, just the fact that I could call my other friends (even when I didn't) made it easier to cope.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
I lost 3 in 6 months (5.00 / 2) (#31)
by anylulu on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 06:47:01 AM EST

My grandmother died on November 29, 1999. I made it back to see her before she slipped away, early in the morning, with me near. She was 94. Two and a half weeks later on December 18, 1999, my natural father, who had retired early to move back home and care for his mother/my grandmother, died in front of me. Abdominal aortic aneurism. "I love you daddy," I said as he lay on the gurney in grandma's front yard covered in snow. He opened one eye, one blue eye, and never moved again.

On May 23, 2000, my baby brother Casey died, two months to the day before his 22nd birthday and 6 hours after we turned off the ventilator. He collapsed while playing a game of pick-up basketball at Brown University. Casey's death was random. A regular old virus, one you or I would fight off, infected his heart, which swelled and stopped as Casey played ball.

How do you comfort your friend? There's no exact prescription. First remember that she is in shock. The impossible enormity of living with a loved one ever absent is...well, impossible. It doesn't make sense. It never makes sense. I don't think I came out of shock for for more than a year after Casey died. (The death of our grandfather, one year to the day after Casey died, didn't help.) Be patient with your friend. I hardly remember how I was while in shock, but I know my friends were enormously patient with me, helping me to get through my days. In retrospect, I think my friends spontaneously tag-teamed me, one making sure I got up in the morning, another taking me for a walk, another making sure I ate, etc. I was a zombie. My friends didn't give up on me. I would advise that you not give up on your friend. Be gentle in letting her know that you are there for her, and stay "there" for as long as it takes. Everyone grieves differently, as mentioned in another comment, so don't take your friend's withdrawl personally. She will come out of it, or she won't. It's her grief. All you can do is be patient.

As for time, and how to live in the world after loss, there is no answer. In the beginning I often quoted Churchill, "When you're going through hell, keep going." I haven't healed, I don't expect to, and I constantly struggle to find my place in a world that is so different from what I ever thought it would be. I do this through music, which I've since discovered.

In a strange way, I am happier than I have ever been. Oh, I still cry, and often, and I remain baffled by universe's implacable disregard. Yet a part of me knows that whatever this world dishes out, I can take it as long as I let me soul out and keep digging for my real self. Right now, this primarily amounts to creative expression and trying to be a better person for having had their love.

Oh I wish I could give you and your friend something definite. All I've found, as I sing in one of my songs, "There's no getting over; there's only going on." There is love in the universe, something to have faith in, and I am sending it your way and to your friend. Tread softly.


-- peace, love and anylulu http://www.anylulu.com

Counselling available for the bereaved in the UK. (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by wraith on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 10:03:57 AM EST

My Mother is a volunteer for Cruise - a UK-wide charity that provides trained, vetted and dedicated councellors who can provide help, advice and support for those having trouble coping with the loss of a loved one.

They have both a telephone and home-visit service.

Their national (UK) phone service will be able to point you in the right direction.

Cruise Bereavement Care - 020 8332 7227

Search Google for local branches of Cruise.

Almost... (none / 0) (#35)
by Chancellor Martok on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 12:13:33 PM EST

Thanks, but despite some similarities, Australia isn't quite the UK these days. :P

I'm fairly sure similar services exist here, but I haven't actaully checked. She is already seeing a counsellor, so we'll see how that goes.

The loved one was living in the UK though, so maybe his friends in the UK have been helped by Cruise.

-----
Chancellor Martok  in Sydney, Australia
"Castrate instead. That can surely rehabilitate. I did it volunatrily, and my grades went up!"  -- Sen

[ Parent ]

Trying to be helpful (none / 0) (#41)
by wraith on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 08:08:01 AM EST

Uh-huh, I thought my post would be useful for the UK slashdotters interested in the thread. Stuart your friend in Edinburgh, Scotland =)

[ Parent ]
For what it's worth, my approach... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by cowbutt on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 10:15:59 AM EST

A friend of mine was killed suddenly in a motorbike accident about two and a half years ago. I received a call whilst at work to let me know. I seem to recall my precise reaction was "Fuck. Thanks. Bye." I logged off my phone and headed to the testlab where I could breakdown in isolation. During the day, I repeated this a few times as the memories came back. When I got home I had a rather emotional telephone conversation with my folks. I probably cried alone a few more times between then and the funeral. I carried on working in between.

The funeral didn't feel like it helped at all (at the time it made things feel far worse), but looking back, it's probably an essential step in dealing with the fact that that person is gone and not coming back.

I don't think I'll ever be able to say I've gotten over it, but the spontaneous breakdowns stopped after the funeral and now only visit me on the darkest of nights.

Over time, I came to terms with it and was able to talk to close friends about it. I later decided to change some goals and behaviours in my life (a further catalyst was 9/11); to try and make the best of my life as no-one knows how long (or short) it'll be. This is not to say I started taking reckless risks, but I've certainly become less averse to calculated risk where there is worthwhile reward.

If your friend doesn't want to speak to you know don't be offended and don't try and push them into speaking. But be there for them and let them know that you won't be embarassed, inconvenienced or otherwise offended if they take you up on their offer.

Hope this helps.

There is no answer (none / 0) (#38)
by X-Nc on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 07:55:51 PM EST

Everyone copes in their own way, even within the same family. I lost my father on 2/2/00. He had been fighting Parkenson's for 4 years but as most people who know about it people normally live for many years. Dad was doing quite well until the day after Christmas '99. That day he had to be admitted to the hospital and never made it out.

Some people will relish talking about the person; some will not. Some will want to be alone; others will want people around. The only thing you can do as a friend is be there and follow the persons lead on how they deal with it. Sometimes, just sitting next to someone... not talking, just sitting...

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

medication (none / 0) (#39)
by blisspix on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 08:10:21 PM EST

if they have been encouraged to go on anti-depressents, deter them as much as you can. grieving is natural. they need to go through it. anti-depressants will only delay their healing. unfortunately, many doctors are all too willing to prescribe them.

I discovered earlier this week, try later (none / 0) (#40)
by TON on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 01:56:23 AM EST

One brief note. Everyone wants to help now. The friends that helped me the most helped a year or so later. How? Can't really explain that part, but they did by just remembering mostly.

So, my advice to you is to mark your calendar, and re-read this story in about 14 months. One year anniversaries are too easy. Your friend may stiil be in need of help, and more receptive, sometime in 2003.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis

Ted


An update... (none / 0) (#42)
by Chancellor Martok on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 01:06:45 PM EST

OK, well I've been talking to her, and I think it's probably helping a little bit. Found out that her counsellor was recommending she try doing normal things again, talk to people, and realise that at some stage she needs to accept what has happened, and move on.

That's basically what I've been telling her - that she can't change what has happened, but she shouldn't give up on what she can change now? (Along with the fact that if she doesn't wanna talk, that's perfectly fine and all...)

That's what she says she's feeling... that everything is pointless, and what is the point of getting on with life? The general thing is just depression and anger (her loved one wasn't at fault in the accident). That's a question I have... how should one deal with that depression, and especially the anger?

She says that she wants to be happy though, though she can't ever possibly do that. I think I convinced her that that wasn't true and she says that when she's ready, she'll start seeing people again, trying to have fun, etc.

And another disturbing thing is, she's having bad nightmares. She didn't want to say anything about what they were about, but I'm guessing probably she keeps seeing things (probably envisioning what happened?) in her dreams.

Hmm... that's about it, I guess. She doesn't mind talking, but then she's just confused about everything. She's less confused while talking to people (she's been talking to other people who knew her loved one, and she says it was positive). So yeah, what should I really try to tell her, if anything?

Oh, and thank you to all those who have contributed, I really do appreciate it a great deal!

-----
Chancellor Martok  in Sydney, Australia
"Castrate instead. That can surely rehabilitate. I did it volunatrily, and my grades went up!"  -- Sen

My experience (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by Hobbes2100 on Fri Jul 19, 2002 at 11:25:09 AM EST

Come on now children, let's sit around the campfire and swap stories.

(At my stage, humor is necessary to deal with the loss.)

So, in March of 1995, in the span of two weeks, one of my older brothers passed away, as did my best friend's father (my brother was ill, my friend's dad was in a car accident ... caused by an older driver who apparently confused the brake and the accelerator). They ended up being buried almost side-by-side in the cemetary.

It was a rough week. My brother's death has many unusual aspects to it, but it was expected. My friend's dad, however, was another story. I can still remember the look on his face when he walked in, saw his mom, and his mom told him what had happened. Later that night, we walked around our small town for what seemed like an eternity. I think I just talked ... rambled on really ... for a couple of hours. Partially I was trying to get his mind restarted; partially neither of us knew what the hell to do. Today, I doubt either of us could tell you much about that night. The important piece was friendship facing death together and not alone.

My second experience also involved a car accident. Another of my closest friends (the first was from high school, this second is from college), however, was the victim this time. I received a call at about 2:00 A.M. from my little fraternity brother. I knew it couldn't be good. However, my friend had been in an accident (a truck jacknifed and caught his pickup truck in it). However, he was alive. I stayed up most of the night wondering if he was ok ... if he would make it ... but he slipped into a coma and remained that way for the next several weeks. I tried to do work in the days, but it wasn't easy.

Anyway, after several weeks (in a coma, he never woke up), he passed away. I got another call around 2:00 A.M. when it happened. You must understand that this individual was one of the best men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a fellow computer scientist, fraternity brother, he did an extraordinary amount of philanthropy, and he had a strong faith (one that I didn't and don't share ... yet it is an admirable quality). The mass of people that came to his funeral, burial, and wake was enormous. He had been dating a girl long term and it is likely they would be married now .... but alas ...

In this event, I was both deeply affected by the loss of a close friend and also was closely tied to many others who shared the loss. In some ways we were all able to lean on each other. But even the friendship that we still had could trigger memories of the friendship that ... well, existed only in memories.

I may write a little more on this, but the point is you can only do what you will do. Don't over analyze. Don't hesitate. Just be yourself. Be a friend. Let your friend do what they need to. Don't try to fix things. You can't. You can only comfort and support.

Regards,
Mark
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal

How does one deal with the sudden death of a loved one? | 43 comments (33 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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