Sudden / Tragic Death
Two People Comforting Each Other

Sudden / Tragic Death

When someone we love is ripped from our lives it is a shock to our entire system. We can quickly become overwhelmed by so many feelings as we try to wrap our head around the fact that someone was here one moment and gone the next. Sometimes people fall to their knees when they receive that horrible news, while other times it seems surreal or unimaginable and the news takes time to settle in. There is no right way to respond to the news of a loved ones death. How someone dies, though, may influence your feelings, including regrets, last memories, unspoken words, fears that run away with your imagination, and other factors around the death itself. It is not uncommon to feel paralyzed and unable to find a way forward in hose early hours, days, and weeks. It is so important to take care of yourself and to ask for help.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Lean on a trustworthy and dependable friend or family members –you may feel like you have a handle on the situation, but grief can be deceiving. A reliable friend can speak honestly with you and help guide you, especially through tough decisions.
  • Be kind to yourself – grief can create a fog for quite some time. Life may seem fuzzy and confusing and that’s because it probably is at this time. Mistakes, forgetfulness, irritability, confusion, and other attributes that aren’t like you may have a strong presence for a while. That’s okay. There is nothing to hide.
  • Don’t make any big financial decisions or unnecessary life altering changes – give grief time. Grief can change your perspective, which is not a bad thing, but as you settle into a new routing and a new normal, you may develop more clarity around how to move forward.
  • Pace yourself – the shock of it all can be so confusing. Try to prioritize what you need to do versus what can wait.
  • Give yourself permission – as Sheryl Sandberg, author of Option B, says, "lean into the suck" and do what you need to do to care for yourself and family.

Additional Resources

TEDx Talks - Everything Around Them is Still There, Dealing with Sudden Loss

TEDx Talks - Beyond Closure

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