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nebule's avatar

How do you deal with death when you haven't experienced it yet?

Asked by nebule (16452points) November 13th, 2009

Please forgive me for being morbid..and I apologize now for anyone who has recently lost anyone.

I haven’t lost anyone in my family and I am 29. I feel very privileged. But I’m constantly in fear of the day it will happen because I don’t think I’m going to be able to deal with it.

I know you shouldn’t try to prepare yourself for things or even think about things that are not real…right now that is… but it will happen and…..I want to find some peace in my fear?

Is this impossible?

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15 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

You will end up finding you are far more resilient than you think. Living on has been a staple of mankind since its conception.

nxknxk's avatar

It’s not as bad as you think. Sorry if that sounds cynical.

reacting_acid's avatar

I have had some people in my family die. Try to spend as much time as you can with them. Those memories that you make will help you through the grieving process. All you can do is love them now, and mourn for them later.

Jude's avatar

@lynneblundell it’ll be one of the hardest things (if the not the hardest) that you’ll go through. But, like @NaturalMineralWater, you’re more resilient than you think. I found that I wasn’t as bad immediately afterward (for me, I was numb and in shock). It wasn’t until a year later that it really became painful. Reality, then, set in.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@nxknxk That depends on two factors. Who passes and how they pass.

@lynneblundell This is one thing that no matter how much you prepare for it you will never be prepared. But it is something completely outside your control so the fear is not serving much of a purpose.

Some ways to prepare:
– always leave things with people you love in a good way
– learn about the process of grief (read books and personal accounts)
– learn about organizing food trees and other methods of helpful acts that could help a family after someone passes
– learn ways to memorialize because that is so helpful in the grief process
– understand that if it does happen it is absolutely okay if you are not able to deal with it, few of us are
– talk about death, talk about what people want after they pass, make arrangements, it won’t make it happen to talk about it

janbb's avatar

Of course there’s the standard answers like make sure you tell them you love them while they are around and get closure if possible before they die. My father died about five years ago after a long period of decline. Although I had issues with him growing up, we had very sweet times together the last few years and I really enjoyed going to the nursing home and holding his hand. When he died, I was not devastated because we had gotten to such a good place with each other. I have no belief in an afterlife, but several great things happened to me in the year after he died, and I felt he shared in my pleasure. My mother may be a different story as I have still not resolved her place in my life but things are better since she lives on the other side of the country now and we have rare, pleasant visits.

On the other hand, a close friend died suddenly while I was abroad this Fall and I still long to tell her things.

marinelife's avatar

Looking ahead to something you cannot feel or understand and worrying is not helpful. As @NaturalMineralWater said, experiencing someone dying is a part of life.

Some things that may help you:

Remember to focus on the moment.

Remember to tell your loved ones and friends how you feel on a regular basis. That way you will not feel you have left anything unsaid.

Remember that when grief happens to you, it can take many forms and have many stages. All of them, any feelings that you have about it, are natural and acceptable.

I got a terrible case of the giggles at my sister’s memorial service, because my brother-in-law had gotten this drug-burned out hippie musician reverend (very similar to Reverend Jim from Taxi) to officiate. I completely lost it when he got his guitar and began singly-badly-“Happy Trails to You,” because it was so ridiculous and because I knew my sister would have been laughing her ass off. I just held a kleenex to my mouth and bowed my head. Later, I got mad at her for dying before I could get home to see her one more time and for dying so young. I miss her still.

nebule's avatar

I’m in tears just reading all your comments…much love and gratitude for sharing thoughts and stories

skfinkel's avatar

I would agree that you can’t prepare really for the death of someone you love. Someone you are close to. And, I would also agree that you need to make sure that everyone you love knows it, and that you are openly loving with the people who are still alive. Also, the human species is resilient—and as individuals, we are. Yet, losing someone can take a huge toll, of time and energy just to get through each day after a death.

I would recommend some books on death and dying—and I would also recommend reading poetry—which to me seems to be all about dying and love.

If you are thinking a lot about this, the cure is not to avoid it, but to jump in and learn what you can, love as much as you can, and realize that you, like everyone, will have to confront the pain of death at some point in your life.

For myself, I couldn’t believe the pain I was in when my husband died—at times I couldn’t catch my breath, and I felt my heart was literally going to bleed me to death. It was like that for the first year, gradually getting better—ie more time between painful bouts. Ten years later now, and I am living my life. And still missing him, and I always will.

marinelife's avatar

@skfinkel GA! What a great idea about the books and the poetry. I wish we as a culture discussed death much more openly than we do.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I went for 30 years without anyone in my family dying, and then in a 5 year span, lost 11 family members, with three passing within a three month period. Of the 11, 6 were over 70, and the remaining 5 had prolonged illnesses. I feel fortunate that none died under tragic circumstances, or unexpectedly, or violently. I miss them all, but talk about them constantly, and treasure the lessons learned from them, and the value added to my life from them having been a part of it.

nxknxk's avatar


True, true. I can’t really imagine the death of a parent. But other deaths in my family have been surprisingly innocuous to me.

majorrich's avatar

Dealing with death is a decision we unconsciously make every time we get up and go out into the world. The conscious decisions we make about our own and others death are way more complex. The making of a Will or how your house is titled are a couple of examples of that. The third kind of decision we salute people is the conscious decision they make every day whether to take a life or lose your own life for the accomplishment of a mission for our country.
Specifically, we made out a new Will and Testament before every deployment,said good-bye to our loved ones not knowing whether we would return with or on our shields. On the other hand, our loved ones had to deal with the same. It becomes another fact of life and trusted in the strong hand of our maker to keep us safe and bring us home in more or less good shape.
Without this rudimentary faith in my maker, I don’t think I would have made it for 18 years, more deployments than you need to know about, and more men and brothers than I care to remember.

Garebo's avatar

I wouldn’t think about it because you will attract it into your life-it will happen, no question about that and accept it. I know this must sound like some more new age gobbligoop, but I experienced that gobbligoop, and my advice is live your life gratefully, graciously and enjoy those precious people while you can, and yes deny those thoughts, replace them with positive outcomes. Yes, death will inevitably win out and manifest itself to you, but just don’t vibe in it or encourage it. It’s amazing to me what the human spirit can do with some encouragement.

nebule's avatar

thanks Garebo xxx

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