Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

Loosing a family member happens every day to many people. This doesn’t mean it hurts any less. In April 2017 I lost one of my best friends, my (adopted) dad. In January 2018 I lost I lost my (adopted) mom. At this time, I wasn’t sure where life was taking me. I was extremely close to my dad but not as close to my mom. I decided to do a DNA test on and found a cousin. He turned out to be a cousin on my mom’s side. He too was adopted just a few months after I was. He told me that his (birth) mother, whom he met a year earlier, had a sister. After talking with him and then one of my birth sisters, we realized I too was part of the family. For several months I talked to the family getting to know them.

During this time my birth mother found out she had lung and brain cancer and she wasn’t going to be on this earth much longer. I was able to get my daughter and grandson out to visit her. I was on the West coast of the US and they were on the South East coast. If you believe in God or not, I do, I was able to meet my birth mother, father, two of my sisters, a great niece, aunt, grandmother, and cousin. A day after we left my birth mother passed away, March 2019. Finally, a couple of months later my birth grandmother passed away and I am now here wondering if the feelings others have been how different than how feel, or if this is what people normally feel.

I have very sad moments then I don’t have any thoughts, as if it never happened. The moments that they jump in my head I feel extremely guilty for not having them on my mind all the time. I don’t know if it is how I was raised, how I was born, or a mixture of both or mental disconnect.

I am blessed to have the parents I did but it would have been a blessing to have been around my birth family the past 54 years.

Loosing a family member is difficult and grief takes shape in multiple ways, I just haven’t wrapped my head around the loss of a father, two mothers, and a grandmother in the past 2 years. I have a very busy life, when I am not alone in my own thoughts, which I believe helped me not to be stuck in a downward spiral. Moving past a loss may takes different paths. gave 7 stages of grief (modified Kupler-Ross model):

Shock: Initial paralysis of hearing the bad news

Denial: Trying to avoid the inevitable

Anger: Frustrated the outpouring of bottled-up emotion

Bargaining: Seeking in vain for a way out

Depression: Final realization of the inevitable

Testing: Seeking realistic solutions

Acceptance: Finally finding a way to move forward

The American Hospice Foundation stated ways to avoid saying to someone who’s grieving:

“It’s part of God’s plan.” This phrase can make people angry and they often respond with, “What plan? Nobody told me about any plan.”

“Look at what you have to be thankful for.” They know they have things to be thankful for, but right now they are not important.

“He’s in a better place now.” The bereaved may or may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.

“This is behind you now; it’s time to get on with your life.” Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to getting on with because they feel this means “forgetting” their loved one. Besides, moving on is much easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and works at its own pace.

Statements that begin with “You should” or “You will.” These statements are too directive. Instead you could begin your comments with: “Have you thought about…” or “You might try…”

We all have had or will have a loss of a loved one, we all need to have the ability to grieve on our own terms, which means we to need to allow others to grieve on their own terms.

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