For Those Recently Bereaved

I know every story and every life and every experience is different, but I offer this delicate advice...
Take your time after the death. Take as much time as you feel necessary to attempt to understand and realize what has happened. I made the mistake of trying to get back into my "normal" routine a couple weeks after my brother's death. Looking back, I know now I was existing solely on adrenaline. All my thoughts were superficial. I simply could not comprehend the fact my brother was gone. I thought I understood it but I really didn't. I think those who are at this beginning stage of grief may be misinterpreted. People might say, "Oh, she's doing fine... she's handling it really well...I don't know if I could go back to work that soon..." It's because we, the recently bereaved, cannot comprehend what is happening. It's death. It's scary. Life as you know it turns upsidedown.

It's nice to be around family and friends after the death but I think it's helpful to spend time alone, too. I was overwhelmed with how generous and kind people were to my parents and I. We were floating on waves of compassion. But my brother's death became real when I spent time by myself and started writing in a journal a month or two later. It was then I felt the obscure thoughts, absolute and terrifying feelings arise. From my heart, to my brain, to pen on paper.

So take your time to realize you are in a new, confusing world. It's easy—and maybe comfortable—to get caught up in the churning of the life around you, the forward progress of society. But please understand the importance of allowing your heart to speak during these extremely sensitive hours, days, months, even years. Let emotion overflow. And if your heart doesn't reveal itself right away, know that it will, and greet it willingly.

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