Friday, September 03, 2010

Questions on Death

So some questions that people got to my blog through were on death, especially the death of a father. For newer readers, here are the two extremely personal posts about the death of my father some years ago:


Here are some of the questions, and the answers I'd like to give.

What to do when your dad died?

You do what you have to. I tried to be there for my mother, tried to be strong, and ended up being lost and almost suicidal for a while. Most important, I think, is find someone you can talk to, and if possible, more than one person. Preferably someone outside your immediate family, who isn't feeling the loss as much, but cares about you and will be there for you. Find a support system, find someone who will hold you when you cry and understand your bad moods and push you to get out of the house and meet people. 

Why can't you cry when your dad dies?
Crying is a normal reaction to grief, and it's a way of dealing with it too. If you can't cry, you are probably still in shock. It's okay. There's no one way of dealing with this, and if you can't cry, you can't. Focus on taking care of yourself, of dealing with your life, of acknowledging the grief and pain and trying to move on. 

How to start living again after the death of your father?
You just do. One day, you pick yourself up and get out of the house and go to work or class. You feel weird, like things have changed, like you landed in the wrong matrix. But you get through the day. You eat. You talk to people, even though it seems awkward at first. In a few days, you even laugh, though the heaviness in your chest never seems to quite go away. 

Give yourself some time to grieve, and then try to get back to your normal life. You can't just switch back: you will still feel sad, and weird, and want to cry for no apparent reason, or get annoyed at nothing. Tell your friends how you feel. Tell them how they can help: by giving company, by taking you out, by letting you cry when you want to... But if you feel depressed and unable to function, seek professional help. 

You can't bring the dead back. And yes, that's why you feel so sad and like nothing else matters. But this also means that nothing you do can make a difference to your father, and you need to take care of yourself now. You will get through this. 

Is it normal to think you're going to die when someone close dies?
Probably, especially if it's the first time you've faced the death of someone close. It's your introduction to death: the finality that is so difficult to come to terms with. It makes you realise something you have always known but never recognised: that everyone is in fact, mortal. And if you loved the person well, you are grieving and probably wonder whether life is worth living any more. 

But it passes. You live. Life goes on. You laugh, work, make out, party again. And just as Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood can see thesrals, we who have seen death up close feel different, like we see a new tint to the world that we had never seen before and that others who don't can not truly imagine.

How does it feel to not have a father?
I wrote earlier:
How does it feel to not have a father?
Always, not quite whole, less than normal.
People ask, who do not know,
Why is your father not here?
Or what did he do at so-and-so?
And at first, each time the grief pinches anew.
And you struggle to answer, and to not cry.

When the grief ebbs away, there's embarassment.
You don't have a father.
And you don't want the person to feel sorry for asking.
So you smile, and say it's okay.
And realise it is true.
It is okay now.
The wound has healed, though the scar remains
And hurts when you rub it.
You are not whole, but you are strong.


Anonymous said...

Your post took me back to the time when i lost my mom. And her death anniversary is coming up - 9th sep.

And yes.. i feel the same as you. I'm not whole but I'm strong!

Unmana said...

softy: I'm sorry for your loss. Thanks for reading.

Suku said...

Unmana: i have not experienced loss the way you have. your advice is thoughtful yet practical. I have heard many people who have been affected by death of loved ones share the same sentiment as you have-you are not whole but you are strong.
you are indeed a strong woman, God Bless!

Carpe Diem! said...

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes on reading this. I can't even imagine how life without either of my parents would be!

Unmana said...

Suku: I don't know if I'm stronger than anyone else, really. Often felt I was weaker - it was very difficult for me to deal with.

Carpe Diem: You are lucky.

M Ahmed said...

You have done a marvelous job! I am really inspired with your work.