How does it feel when you know that someone close is about to cross the bridge from here to the other side? Acceptance is way too far to think of when you’ve just learned of that fact. The first thing you feel is anxiety. A hundred what if’s are running through your head and understandably so. You may feel selfish at first as you ask, ‘how will I survive?’, or ‘what about me?’
The thing is, give yourself time. Don’t give in to what others think you should do. They may have undergone the same impending loss but no one is exactly the same. The intensity and magnitude of the same loss (like loss of a wife) is never the same for two different people (even for identical twins). It’s not about anyone else’s pain; it’s about you and your grief.
As the daughter of someone facing death due to an illness, I did the following in trying to cope with separation anxiety:
Quiet time alone.
It was 5 in the morning when I received the call from my mother telling me that my father’s at the ICU. I had no feelings of anything whatsoever. It was a good thing that I took the bus. The 4-hour drive was enough for my quiet time alone.
When you’re at it, don’t try to think. Just let your mind go blank. The fact willingly sinks into the depths of your being. You’ll know you’ve come to the point of accepting reality when you feel the pain already. I was almost at the hospital when I felt the pain.
Don’t dry your tears too soon.
As I felt it, I ran to the nearest restroom and had a good cry. Not for a moment did I think of stopping myself as I know it’s a good release. It doesn’t matter if they see me with red swollen eyes long as I’ve unloaded the well inside.
Good if you cry where no one knows you; a tap on your back asking you to stop crying is not beneficial. Some people though don’t shed tears. They go through pain but nothing to show for it. This is not really good as they have no outlet of their grief.
Whichever works for you, remember not to suppress any emotion; anger, fear, loneliness, they’re all a part of you grieving. It’s best you’re through them before the funeral service starts. You can be of great help when you’re fully present during the funeral program.