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Losing Family/Friends

  1. Aug 22, 2012 #1

    Drakkith

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    I was talking to my Dad a few minutes ago, and I realized that he is getting on up there in years. The thought of losing him is...terrible, even though I know it is going to happen sooner or later. (Hopefully later as opposed to sooner!) I've never had to deal with the loss of someone close to me, as most of my family is still alive and we've never had any accidents or anything happen to people that are close to me. The same with my friends.

    I don't know if I really have a question, as asking "how do you deal with it" doesn't seem like a question that can be answered by anyone but yourself. But still, how have you all dealt with the loss of those close to you? Can you ever really be "prepared" for it?
     
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  3. Aug 22, 2012 #2

    lisab

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    By coincidence, I learned yesterday my mother was very sick and in the hospital. Years ago she got a parasite while visiting India and the thing has almost killed her several times. The docs say there's not much they can do about it.

    Luckily, this incident was relatively minor, and it looks like she'll be released tomorrow.

    But it brought to mind that I'm completely unprepared, emotionally, to lose her :frown:.
     
  4. Aug 22, 2012 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    You just have to accept what has happened, let go, and move on. Sometimes it comes down to just getting through the day. Then you get through the next day. Then the next... and eventually life starts to return to normal - a new normal.
     
  5. Aug 22, 2012 #4
    Sometimes at night I've thought about an immediate family member dying to the point of tearing up. I've always thought it was important to think about and not just let it hit you like a brick wall. Buddhists do this as a form of preemptive coping. However I know that no matter how hard I pretend, when the time really comes it will be paradigm shifting. It's not even my grief I worry most about, but the grief of others (say my dad dies, I'd feel so bad for my mom) or for the actual person if it was painful and long. Then again, live life to the fullest, because it may be you who goes next!
     
  6. Aug 22, 2012 #5
    When the time comes, you will be ready. Trust in yourself; you are and will be everything you need to be.
     
  7. Aug 22, 2012 #6

    turbo

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    My father is is his mid-80s and he still hangs in there. I never was one to read obituaries, but at 60+, watching my class-mates dropping like flies, I'm starting to pay attention.
     
  8. Aug 22, 2012 #7

    Evo

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    Not true. I was never ready for the death of anyone I knew. How can you be ready for the unexpected death of someone you know, even a pet? I don't think anyone is.
     
  9. Aug 22, 2012 #8

    Pythagorean

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    I don't know how I'm going to deal with it; all that paperwork, having to fly home to sell and/or manage the house, handling mid-contract business, interacting with grieving relatives. It's going to be a pain in the donkey.
     
  10. Aug 23, 2012 #9
    My mother died when I was 14. I'm 57 now and still in shock over it. I think what you get used to is being in shock, not to the fact they died.
     
  11. Aug 23, 2012 #10

    Drakkith

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    Thanks guys. Hopefully it will be many long years before someone close to me goes. And here's to everyone's friends and families! *holds up a glass of mountain dew* Cheers!
     
  12. Aug 23, 2012 #11

    Borek

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    Giving advice doesn't make much sense, as to a large extent everyone is different and reacts differently. At the same time we are similar enough that there are known standard techniques that help - google for a grief therapy.

    I have already lost my both parents - it is never easy. Especially as the general tendency these days is to pretend such thing as death never happens, and we are forever young and healthy. BS, the sooner we get to think about the death as a normal stage of life, the better.
     
  13. Aug 23, 2012 #12

    turbo

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    Thanks. My mother died suddenly when my little brother was just 5. My father did the best that he could, though my wife and I had to help my little brother through some rough spots. We had him come to our house with our nieces and nephews to spend weekends playing outside, watching movies (when the weather was crappy), listening to my music collection, etc. I have lost some family and friends, but the death of my mother still hurts. Even worse, my supervisor at the mill felt that it was his responsibility to enforce the company's policy for a 3-day bereavement-leave in the case of a death of a close relative. What a creep. 3 days to mourn the death of someone so pivotal to one's life?

    My mother taught me how to garden and how to cook and how to can preserves. We were joined at the hip. When I was a little tyke, she and my aunt took me to a berry-field in Ripley, and the owner said "no kids"! My mother and aunt asked him to let me pick strawberries for a while and keep an eye on me. After realizing that I was picking all the ripe berries and not leaving any, I was welcome there any time. Picking those huge cultivated berries was WAY easier than gathering the tiny wild berries. I had nimble little fingers, and could pick more berries than my mother or my aunt, and pick them clean, at the same time. My sisters and my cousins could hang out at the station wagon eating sandwiches and drinking Kool-Aid, but I had work to do. My mother was a child of the Depression. She was never harsh or demanding, but she set an example in almost every aspect of life. I still miss her.
     
  14. Aug 23, 2012 #13
    I was really close to my grandma. When she entered her 80's she developed Alzheimer's. I actually cared for her for a few months, before she died nearly two years ago. Seeing her however in that state really got me thinking about the harsh reality that everyone has to face someday. Like Borek said, most of us live life as if it'll go on forever (I know everyone plans for insurance and such but I'm not talking about objective or practical planning). The fact that I, my family and everyone else on this planet will someday become nothing (no, no afterlife for me thank you), that I or anyone else will not be able to think or feel a thing is really scary. This makes life seem all the more precious; that this life is the one and only chance anyone ever gets to do anything; so I'd better not screw it up.
     
  15. Aug 23, 2012 #14
    I used to think about the deaths of close members and even myself in the childhood. Those were very nightmarish thoughts. The things that annoyed me most were that "you never get a second chance" and "Elders are going to die sooner". However, as I grew up and encountered "life's problems", I realized that death is a kind of gift. Without it life loses every purpose and action.

    Just like Borek said, I repeat "death really happens and also frequently than we come to know". In childhood there is little encounter with death incidents. Thus we lived in a delusion and when for a moment we realized the reality and it saddened our hearts. Nowadays in modern life and in mid-age you're too busy to be interested in hearing death news. Thus you never think about it or do it in a vague manner.

    However, the thought that, "you only have one chance, do not screw it up" is the worst thought ever. From the childhood I wanted to be many things. I never became one of those. Even now I am in a position which I did not actually want or planned for 1-2 yrs back. I also had a few wishes. Only 10% of those had come true and not the ones which would have been very helpful for me. To sum it up I mostly screwed up my entire life. I chased my desires and still chase for the first part of my life. However, the most important thing is to learn to give up after some defeat. All those about "if you do not give up, you will get it" seems like BS after some long period. You have to just ask yourself "Is the effort worth the output?". Well the answer is, "life is more beautiful and enjoyable without extra stress". Its true that those who live a simple life are far more happier than the richer people. Its miracle of advertisement that deludes people into thinking that their life sucks.

    Anyway, the greatest achievement of my life is to discover physicsforums.
     
  16. Aug 23, 2012 #15

    chiro

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    My advice is to just do the best you can to make their life as good as it can be: that way you won't have regrets and you'll be able to say that you did your part to make the other person have a better life.

    The worse thing someone can do is do the opposite and have some kind of guilt trip about the whole thing wondering why you didn't do this or why you did that.

    Death may not be able to be stopped, but the thing that can be controlled is how you aid lifes experiences in a positive way rather than a negative one.
     
  17. Aug 23, 2012 #16

    Astronuc

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    One grieves, one weeps, one remembers, and one moves on in life. My youngest brother died from an aggressive leukemia. I was with him five days before he died, a the day that he slipped into unconsciousness because of the toxins building up in his body as his organs began to fail. That day was my father's birthday. My birthday was the next day. I had to return home in a different state. We came back the following weekend for the funeral.

    It was hard for us, particularly my parents who had to watch their youngest son die. He left behind a wife and 3 year old son. The funeral was nice. We met many people who knew my brother as a friend and as a professional colleague.

    My brother had just started a medical practice as an OB/BYN surgeon. He was a few months into his practice when he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML5). We thought he might have 3 to 5 years, but he only survived 11 months from time he was diagnosed. It was a slow and painful process.

    Prior to that, our family had been very fortunate to lose someone in an accident or premature death, with the exception of my maternal grandmother who died in her 60s. My maternal grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack in his late 70s. My paternal granmother died in her early 80s. My paternal grandfather lived to 103.

    My father survived colon cancer a few years ago, but the treatment took its toll on his health. But he still hanging and will turn 83 soon. My mom is slowing down though. She'll probably go a few more years.

    My father was a chaplain in various hospitals including the main trauma center in a large metropolitan area, and my mom was a critical care nurse. The both had stories of people and tragedies, so I've know of a lot of people who have died early in life from accident or illness. But that was somewhat removed from me until my brother died.

    My dad specialized in grief counseling, but it did not prepare him for the loss of his youngest son.

    Yet - life goes on - and we can't stop living because others die.
     
  18. Aug 24, 2012 #17
    Heh I do that too. Thought it was just me.

    I tend to view death as a disease we haven't found a cure for yet. When I lose a loved one, I never really heal, "return back to normal" it kind of stays with me always, like falling into a new equilibrium. The first days are sad, but then I just go on with my life somewhat different.

    I don't think I could ever accept death like a normal part of life. It isn't! At least that's what I think, viewing it as a disease. It's mostly a thing we humans should gang up against to annihilate it.
     
  19. Aug 24, 2012 #18
    I think it's best to let whatever happens happen. Some people get depressed and cry for days. I think it's best just to let it all out. I don't really believe there is a right or a wrong way to react. You need to just react how you do.

    I've lost many family members. It does get easier in some ways. Harder in others. When my parents go, I'm gonna be an absolute wreck.
     
  20. Aug 24, 2012 #19
    I've never lost anyone suddenly, that must be pretty hard to prepare for. I try to treat each goodbye like it will be the last, and almost expect myself or someone I love to die any day. It may sound like a really morbid way of thinking, but it keeps me trying to make each day count.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  21. Aug 24, 2012 #20

    chiro

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    Doesn't sound that morbid: sounds like an approach where you can hold your head up high knowing that you treated the other person with respect so that you don't have to worry about all the things that a lot of people worry about when someone goes and some of this usually involves the fights, the disregard, and all the stuff that people do when they think that someone is going to be around forever.
     
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