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How do we deal with the death of a loved one?

The Igbos have a proverb – “ma akpogh onwu aha, ya di ka onaghi egbu-egbu“, translation – “if death is not mentioned, one inadvertently forgets our mortality”. The most difficult aspect of Medical Practice , which I have done for more than 30 years now,and still counting, remains to convey the message of death to loved ones. Let us now define death.
What is death?
Death is the action or fact of dying, or being killed, the end-of-life of a person or organism. Medically death is defined as the cessation of all vital functions of the body including the heartbeat, brain activity(including the brain stem), and breathing. That is: the patient is pulseless, apnoic, has fixed pupils and no heart sounds.
Ten ways to handle the death of a loved one.
• In a research published by Jinna Yang – a Professor of Lifestyle & Photojournalist. He enumerated the following ten points, which might help a grieving person. This was the culmination of emotional trauma he passed through when his father died of cancer. He was 24.
• He was completely lost, unable to express what had just happened to his family – that was, the loss of their breadwinner. As most of us do now, he bottled-up all his emotions and refused to allow the process of healing to begin. He wanted to mourn his father’s death forever. The 10 steps are ;
1) Realize that everyone deals with death differently
Everyone processes death differently. You do not have to second guess your thoughts with other family members. This grief, is your personal journey. You are allowed to feel, think, say, or do whatever it is, that you need to heal.
2) Open up and talk about it, but only when you are ready.
You should appreciate all the text messages, emails, voice mails, phone calls etc, from friends saying “sorry for your loss “, and telling you to let them know if you needed anything. You could live in denial, and wouldn’t want to face the fact that, your loved one is dead. You could internalize all the pains, but when you have grieved enough – opening up about your feelings, will allow you to start the healing process.
3) Let yourself be vulnerable.
You could always hear Okoro, Tunde or Ahmed say – please stop crying, be strong for your family, and also from your cousins aunts, uncles and your friends. Of course you could pretend you are being consoled, while it is still hurting inside, because you do not want to be thought weak or vulnerable – wrong. You are a human being for crying out loud. You should let off steam, cry and mourn like others. This begins the healing process.
Remaining 7 points are self-explanatory, so I shall expatiate minimally.
4) Allow your friends to be there for you.
Do not seclude yourself. Open up to your friends. This begins the process of healing.
5) Know that you are allowed to be f-cked up.
Do not be ashamed if you look a wreck, that makes you a normal human being until the healing process begins.
6) Put down the drink.
Do not substitute your sorrow with alcoholic drinks. Alcohol or drugs may make you temporarily numb to the pain you are feeling, but spending your time masking the pain is only pushing back the healing process. Put the drink down, pick up the phone. Call a friend or……?
7) Book a ticket to a place you have never been.
Travel to a strange place, if you can afford it. Or visit a friend in another town or country. Change scene.
8) Do what you love.
Keep yourself busy by taking time to figure out what you love doing. Then do it.
9) Cherish the memories of your loved one.
The only way to remember the good times of your loved ones is to celebrate them, do not focus on their deaths.
10) Give yourself time to heal.
You are allowed to take as much time as you need to heal.
Finally.
• You are not expected to be perfect.
• Your struggles build your character.
• Your experiences make you unique.
• You are intricate, complicated, seasoned and beautiful.
• Don’t ever be ashamed of your past.
• Just remember that the decision to start the healing process is entirely up to you.
• So when you are ready, get out there and take a chance on yourself to find peace past the pain.
• May God guide you.
Please follow me on twitter ; @ _ DRSUN.

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