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Adulting: Coping With Death...

I’ve written in a previous blog post about older members of my family passing away, and how it feels incredibly discouraging at times. Let me just be blunt: How can we better cope when our loved ones die (and not just from old age)?

Everyone grieves differently, but I’d like to share something that helps me with the grieving process.

I’m a very tactile person. I like to have something I can hold in my hand to help me remember and be encouraged. I think it started when my sister got me “bad day” earrings. They were a pair of earrings she gifted me to wear when I was having a bad day. I would put them on and know that I was loved by her. And while earrings didn’t change my situation, they changed my mindset. And that made a huge difference.

So, when a loved one passes, I like to designate a special item to remember them by and to help me make it through the tough time. It might be a mug; it might be a key chain. The item itself isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that it’s something that visually grabs me and brings that person to my mind.

When two of my grandparents passed away, I purchased a necklace to wear that reminded me of them. It’s not an ornate necklace - just a simple one I can put on and I know it’s a symbol for them. I see it reflected in the mirror or in a photograph, and even just the feel of it around my neck reminds me of their love and care for me.

Am I saying these actions took away my pain? Of course not. This is just one way I help myself cope, and I find it incredibly comforting. Because while the person I’m grieving isn’t physically alive on earth anymore, I can combat the loneliness with something that’s tangible, that will help me keep memories alive, and that will make me smile and remember their impact. Because that’s what I really want, and it’s something I know they would really want for me, too.

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