#1 Edited by Subjugation (4779 posts) -

A close family friend just passed away today from cancer. He taught my older brother in high school and went to church with my sister. We saw him all the time and he was always so cheerful and upbeat, despite knowing that he was terminally ill. He is leaving behind his wife and four children, the oldest of them just starting high school and the youngest still in elementary.

The whole thing is just so sudden and unexpected. He wasn't being hospitalized and was still maintaining a regular daily schedule. Obviously everyone expected that he would eventually pass without successful treatment, but not in this manner. Apparently there wasn't even time for goodbyes, no lead up to his passing. He just didn't wake up this morning.

So here I am, having a hard time being able to put how I feel into words, and I'm not even a member of his family. I have no idea what it must be like for them. I don't know what to do. I want to be able to help them but I don't know what I could do or say that could possibly help at all. I can't bring their husband and father back.

How do you cope? How do you help others cope?

#2 Edited by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

I just remain dead.

#3 Posted by BillyTheKid (535 posts) -

... I am really not good at coping with this kind of thing at all. When some one close to me that was a family friend, I sat back and thought how fucked that was. It took me a few days to even realize that he was really gone because I live no where near the dude at first I did not believe it.

I found that it was really easy to "get over" the death when I talked about it with friends. The dude died in a snowmobiling accident, and honestly he probably would not have had it any other way. He lived on the crazy side with a bit of booze on the side and we talked about all the crazy hilarious shit he did.

In the end we were laughing about what he had done in his life while also giving our last respects. At this point the grief had really been lifted and I did not feel as bad. He went from a vision of a corpse, to a vision of a man who was full of life, love and fun.... also beer, a LOT of beer.

Hope this kind of helps. :/

#4 Edited by ArbitraryWater (12626 posts) -

Just take it stoically? That's what I've done as my grandparents have passed on, but I'm a cold heartless robot so that method may not work for you. If you adhere to a religious faith you could use that for comfort, but I don't think there is any one proper way to grieve for a person. The best thing you can do right now is show his family your support by helping them do random stuff (i.e. drive kids to school, mow their lawn, bring over baked goods).

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

Just take it stoically? That's what I've done as my grandparents have passed on, but I'm a cold heartless robot

I thought you were a magical skeleton?

#6 Posted by CharlieBoom (36 posts) -

Here's what has helped me.

Firstly, don't say that you "understand how you feel", and don't try to understand, be a friend, be caring, speak when spoken to, answer questions and don't ask too many.

Do nice things if you feel like it, and help for the sake of being helpful, not for brownie points.

And even if you can't help right now, keep them in your thoughts and commit to help the family not just now, but in the years to come.

Oh, and the confusion will continue for a bit, it sucks, but you'll grieve for a while. I've found it best to accept that the situation is shitty, and go through grieving with friends and family at your own pace.

My condolences.

#7 Edited by believer258 (12663 posts) -

I just remain dead.

I don't think this is a good thread for jokes.

#8 Edited by ArbitraryWater (12626 posts) -

@arbitrarywater said:

Just take it stoically? That's what I've done as my grandparents have passed on, but I'm a cold heartless robot

I thought you were a magical skeleton?

How do you know I'm not a ROBOT Lich, hmm?

#9 Posted by zFUBARz (672 posts) -

About 75% of my direct family is dead at this point, most people don't get used to it, I guess I did at a young age, what I always say to people who ask for advice is this.

Be sad, Grieve, take your time, it won't be fast or easy, but always remember that anybody who actually cared about you wouldn't want you to be unhappy for long if at all. More likely they'd want you to live your life well and be happy and achieve all you can. If they didn't well they're sort of a dick anyway. That's rarely the case, and with this guy from the sounds of it, he didn't want sadness, goodbyes, grief, etc. he wanted to keep living his life as best he could, and wanted people to remember him as he always was. Life is full of good times, there's no point in dwelling on the bad ones.

That's all really, be there to help his family remember him well if you can, beyond that there's not much that can be done.

#10 Edited by Bucketdeth (8232 posts) -

With life, always celebrate their life and what they meant to you. I lost a close friend in a helicopter crash back in 09, it was damn difficult, and seeing it on the news every fucking evening was horrible. Just don't drown yourself in sorrow, grief is painful, but it's also natural.

I always thought, would he want me to be so depressed, and anxious? No, he would want me to live my life and enjoy it. There will always be that empty feeling, but fill that depressing shit up with good memories.

#11 Edited by Subjugation (4779 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@video_game_king said:

I just remain dead.

I don't think this is a good thread for jokes.

I think you're right.

Thanks to the rest of you for your serious, tactful answers so far.

#12 Posted by Poppduder (477 posts) -

I dont know how to deal with death. I'm not sure you can really, you rather learn to live with it... if that makes sense. I lost a good friend and cousin of mine within a week of each other 2 years ago next week, and I suppose I spent a lot of time at my favorite pub and abusing pain killers. But I dont recommend going about it that way.

#13 Edited by Basm321 (409 posts) -

<p>My mom shot her self about a year ago.</p><p>Just keep breathing, just move forward.</p>

Pro tip: start drinking

Pro tip 2: don't keep drinking

But in all seriousness, just spend time with friends. You will figure out what works/help you.

#14 Edited by myketuna (1782 posts) -

When my grandfather died, my mom was real down for a while. I never really got to know him too well for various reasons, so I didn't feel as terrible as she did, but I just told her that I was sorry and that she'd get through it, but never over it. And for her to remember to continue living her life. I knew him well enough that he wouldn't want her to be shut-in and sad all the time. Other than that, I'm not sure what else I could have done. Everyone copes and heals their own way.

#15 Posted by rotorious (89 posts) -

Anger, then acceptance....then celebrate the ones who have passed.

#16 Posted by Brodehouse (10467 posts) -

The five stages doesn't have legs just because people like the number five. Be angry about it for a while, be depressed and then finish up.

#17 Edited by mosespippy (4746 posts) -

When my girlfriend died two years ago I definitely went through the stages of grief. Anger was the worst and it happened to me roughly two months after she died. I was angry at everyone in my life, past and present. The moment that got me out of the anger stage is when I was on a plane three months after it happened. I was flying somewhere I'd never been before and no one who was making me angry was there with me. Being able to look forward to that trip kept me from getting in a lot of fights with the people around me and actually going on that trip alone allowed me to transition to the depression stage. So my advice is to schedule a vacation. Some time to get away from all those around you and be alone with your thoughts is very therapeutic.

#18 Edited by Pr1mus (4093 posts) -

Probably a whole lot better than is normal. Even for relatively close people like an uncle (i lost two in the last year) it barely affects me. I don't much think about it and almost immediately go back to whatever it is i was doing when i learned the news. The first one i was in the hospital with my mom and other uncles and cousins so of course seeing them break down in tears had more effect but even that was quickly forgotten almost instantly upon leaving. I'm probably dead inside.

Well, i have a really hard time dealing with serious problems people can have while alive and healthy and it can bring me down in a hard way but i suppose the finality of death makes it easy for me. Can't do nothing about it so i move on.

As for helping others cope i guess i'm a good listener and i'm very calm in general. That's the best i can offer people.

#19 Edited by Clonedzero (4206 posts) -

my grandfather died a couple months ago. for like a week it didnt phase me one bit, my father was a wreck and i felt super bad that i didnt feel bad at all. then one night, i was alone drinking a glass of wine to unwind watching some random internet bullshit (hell coulda been a quicklook i dont remember). something reminded me of him when i was a kid.

i LOST IT. i cried like a baby for a good hour. it was like 1am and i was alone so i didnt hold anything back. it was a really memorable moment, cus both my grandparents on my mothers side had died but they lived far away and i rarely saw them so it never hit me at all. this one though MAN. remembering him letting me drive a car in a field on his lap when i was like 8. him making me walk a mile when i was 10 to see a HUGE over turned tree from a hurricane then climbing the overturned roots. picking blueberries cus he had a small blueberry farm. it just all hit me at once REAL hard for a short period.

i think everyone has their own grieving process. it'll come to you, if you feel the need to talk to someone, talk to someone. if you just wanna have a few drinks and have a good solitary cry by yourself as you reflect, nothing wrong with that either. find your own way through it, you can't really expect a simple solution. it just sucks, thats all, it just sucks.

#20 Edited by Chop (2010 posts) -

I hold it all in and remain aloof. I've never viewed death as a particularly sad thing; it's never been something that has evoked strong feelings in me. Maybe I'm a terrible person but even when close family members passed away, I shrugged my shoulders and said "shit happens".

So yes, my advice is hold all your feelings in and let them fester until they come out as a fist on drywall. I'm a terrible person.

#21 Edited by MHumphreys89 (757 posts) -

People who are joking in this thread are douchebags. I'm sorry for your loss Subjugation.

#23 Edited by jillsandwich (804 posts) -

My dad died five years ago this July, when I was eleven.

To be honest, I'm not particularly sure how I got through it then. Like others have said in this thread, spending time with friends and family members(that you actually like being around, getting poked and prodded by my dad's abusive mother at his funeral didn't help any) does wonders.

Also, with any horrible event in your life, poking fun and laughing is more valuable than you can imagine. Sure, some of the people in this thread are cracking jokes that maybe aren't called for, but in my opinion, they've got the right idea. You know you've beat the grief of a situation when you can laugh about it.

#24 Posted by Icemael (6795 posts) -

I deal with the loss of a family member by completely suppressing my feelings, spontaneously breaking down in tears years later, and then going back to suppressing my feelings. I highly recommend this method.

#25 Edited by Canteu (2844 posts) -

Embrace it. Death is the only certainty of life, so there's really nothing to be sad about. I'm dead, you're dead, we're all dead. It's a thing that happens to the best and the worst. Due to it being simply unavoidable, just live with the expectation. Saying "it was so unexpected" is one thing, but if you can prepare yourself through life, that everyone you know or will ever know is dead or will be dead, then it kinda takes the edge off.

Oh, and don't try to help other people grieve, unless they want you to. Everyone has their own method, and it often doesn't involve you.

#26 Edited by Winternet (8236 posts) -

I usually look away from Death.

#27 Posted by deathstriker666 (1349 posts) -

This your first time having to deal with death? Well, here's the straight answer, no one knows how. Most people try to move on because they have to, but the memories of the fallen never go away. Grief is a problem that doesn't necessarily have a solution. You accept it, you learn the fragility of life, and hopefully you'll get some lesson out of it.

#28 Edited by ShockD (2486 posts) -

I embrace it. Especially Melodic Death.

#29 Posted by EpicSteve (6910 posts) -

If you're a man of God, know that he's in a better place?

I dunno. I've had 6 people in my life pass away in the last 2 years of my life. Half of which I was there during the passing, and also about 3 or so I was close to. I don't really know what I've done to "deal" with it. I was pretty bummed for awhile but in an extreme situation (Afghanistan) that I was forced to get overt it quickly. I feel weird to this day for never having it heavily affect me like I feel like it should. So, don't think about it too much. Or at least overthink it. You have YOUR life to live. Theirs is over.

#30 Edited by Max_Cherry (1205 posts) -

My best and only friend died suddenly in December at 24. He took a nap and never woke up. I loved him like a twin brother. I know he's with God. My advice is to take things minute by minute and go forward. My condolences.

#31 Edited by SlashDance (1856 posts) -

I've lost my girlfriend in a car accident 13 years ago, and it's been pretty hard as you can imagine. But at some point it does get easier and it becomes "just" a painful memory.

I have only one advice : don't stay alone if you can help it. People cheer you up no matter how bad the times.

#32 Posted by Subjugation (4779 posts) -

@slashdance: @max_cherry: @epicsteve: @deathstriker666: @canteu: @icemael: @jillsandwich: @humphreys: @chop: @pr1mus: @clonedzero: @mosespippy: @rotorious: @myketuna: @basm321: @poppduder:

I appreciate all of your responses. I think I'm just at a point of confusion now more than anything. My mind isn't able to reconcile that this person is quite simply gone. I suppose things will shake out over time, but the time in between just sucks.

And about the jokes, I'm not sure what the intention may be, but I think the phrase "too soon" is applicable. Anyway, thanks again for the heartfelt responses. It's kind of a gamble to take a personal topic like this and put it on the internet.

#33 Posted by Sanity (2045 posts) -

I guess i handle it by being emotionless.... People actually tend to think im heartless as i look like i dont care but im just not the type to sit and bawl my head off. Keep my emotions on the inside i suppose.

#34 Edited by Raven10 (2044 posts) -

It's not something you ever really truly get over. My Grandmother died close to a decade ago and I still dream about talking to her on occasion. You have to learn to accept it and try to move on. In the end, you'll never feel exactly the same, but it's part of life and something that you get more and more used to the older you get.

#35 Edited by Darson (466 posts) -

I don't think there's ever any real true way to handle it, as it is different for everyone (especially regarding the circumstances of the death). All I know is that you should go through the normal 5 stages of death & dying in the correct order: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Most dwell too long and do not get past the anger or depression stage though. Acceptance is the only true and final solution in my opinion. But it's a process.

#37 Posted by AiurFlux (921 posts) -

I wish I knew how to deal with it better. Some people I honestly don't care that much about but others I completely lose myself. I lost a uncle a few years ago and I didn't feel remorse I actually felt joy a little bit. He was a bit of an asshole. I've lost a few aunts with varying degrees too. The only time I really lost it is when my grandmother died about 5 years ago and my grandfather died about 2 years ago. When my grandfather died I broke my hand and put 3 holes in my guest bedroom wall. When my grandmother died I was at work and threw my laptop across the room and broke it when my dad called to let me know. None of it was in anger or malice towards a person but more towards myself because I should have been there for them. I could have seen my grandfather before he died and I didn't. I could have seen my grandmother before she died but I kept putting it off.

As time went on I accepted it but there was some dark moments during the couple of weeks that followed. Things I'd rather not talk about on a public forum and things I kind of don't even want to look back on. But you deal with it. If you're religious then you have the solace of believing that the person you loved is in a better place. If you're not then you have the acceptance that death is a constant that we all will face and the memories of those you loved should be cherished and never squandered. But you never really get over it. 5 years later, during Christmas, there's a hole there that I always notice now. You just keep going on I guess until it's your time to go, and when that comes you hope you made those that came before you proud.

#38 Edited by Kepler (39 posts) -

@subjugation: I know how you feel (I realize how stereotypical that sounds, but stick with me), because I had my father die at a very young age, and just last year my grandparents (all 4, so both from my mother's side and my father's side) died in a freak accident. I find that the best way to deal with it, is to not try to deal with it. Just go with the flow of your emotions, and you may be surprised. You may experience a strange feeling of emptiness. But, it will help you cope with it. Hope I helped :)

#39 Posted by insane_shadowblade85 (1616 posts) -

Sorry to hear that subs =(

I deal with it more easily than others since I've dealt with the deaths of close friends throughout my teenage years. I usually just think of the good times we had and not the fact that that person is gone. It kind of makes it easier.

#40 Edited by Kazona (3240 posts) -

<p>I have a very hard time dealing with death and anything related to possible genial illness, especially cancer. I am terrified of getting cancer, and any time I feel something even a bit off I tend to think the worst.</p><p>So yeah, I can't give you any advice on how to deal with this as I don't even know how to deal with it myself.</p>

#41 Edited by Intro (1247 posts) -

It's something not everyone can handle well. I'm 19 and have a lost a few people in my life, no one really close though, yet. I fully understand that it's going to happen to everyone and to myself one day. I think about the good things in life and enjoy everything I can because I believe once you're dead, that's it. So the only advice I can give is keep your head up and look forward to what's good in your life, it's not worth thinking about everyone's death for too long and sitting around sad. Love the time you have left.

Sorry for your loss.

#42 Edited by i_got_an_F (28 posts) -

I get it all out as quickly as possible and then I move on.

#43 Posted by Siked (27 posts) -
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#44 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1900 posts) -

It is not something I have had to deal with just yet, but thinking about it, I don't think it IS something you just "deal with." To quote Keanu Reeves here because the words have has stuck with me since I read them: "Grief changes shape, but it never ends. People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It's gone, and I'm better.' They're wrong."

As time passes, the event will mean different things to you. It will never be taken back, and you will always be affected, but it's up to you to decide how to give shape to those emotions and form them into something meaningful. I don't mean taking up a hobby like whittling or something, but just finding a way to let it contribute to who you are as a person. It can be positive or you can turn it into something negative. I think the best advice I can give is to not dwell on it. When you dwell on something serious like this, it can be very easy to become bitter. Don't sour your memories of them with those kinds of emotions.

#45 Edited by ManU_Fan10ne (688 posts) -

I think the best way to deal with it is to just keep living. You just have to carry on with your life, but still never forget the person you cared about.

Just today, one of my mom's friend's friends 9 yr old kid died. He was playing baseball with his brothers and the ball hit him in the head. He went to the doctor, got it stitched up, and died two days later. Internal bleeding, I think.

Edit: And it's okay to cry.

#46 Edited by Mirado (1094 posts) -

Death is a natural part of life, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier to face. I try to keep in mind the way the person lived; my grandmother went out of her way to make sure she wasn't a burden, so our ceremonies were low key and simple. My grandfather loved to tell stories, so we spent all our time recounting them. My uncle was a lover of scotch, so we held a tasting.

The thing is, it's all so very personal that I doubt anything I have to say will have any relevance. If someone seems like they want to talk, then listen. If they want to be alone, let them. If you need to be consoled, seek it out. If not, then don't.

The varying ways we handle death are a part of what makes us human.

#47 Edited by zFUBARz (672 posts) -

@subjugation Earlier when I said most of my direct family is dead I wasn't joking, I wrote a bit about this the other day

grandparents on my dads side died before that but I was too young to remember, then my dad, about 6 months later my other grandpa, over the next few years, all of my fathers sisters (they were all older) and most of the uncles too, eventually my last grandma, and a few others here and there just to keep things interesting. at this point other than distant cousins my moms siblings are all that's left.

The point is it's not easy but you can get past it, again and again if you have to.