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When Death Snatches Your Loved One Away

The pain, the questions, and the anger in loss

BY Pauline Katethya

Feb 19, 2021, 04:12 PM

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There’s a level of sadness that life carries that seems unbearable. Sadness that will leave you wondering how you are supposed to carry on as a human being. In life, this sadness comes in many ways and in different sizes. It might come fast, it might come slow, but it usually gets us at some point because no one is safe from the suffering and the sorrows of this world.

Death is cruel, selfish, and bloody thirsty. It wants to feed on everyone. It doesn’t care who you are left with. The love stories it carries. The pain, the emptiness, and the void it leaves behind. It not only breaks and tears you apart, it also chokes the little life you have left. It leaves you crushed and hurt. How will life move on without them?

People are always quick to tell you how to cope with grief, the five stages you are supposed to go through, but we deal with grief differently. I don’t think you get over it like someone broke your phone or something, you deal with it the best way you can. But because we are human, there are times this pain will consume us and shake the very core of our existence.

As Africans, these are not the conversations we have in our homes. We don’t talk about pain, grief, and mourning. All those things are associated with weakness. And if you are a man you will be asked to keep yourself together, put behind what has happened, and move on. As if it’s not a human who has died. During this time we struggle to make sense of everything. to derive meaning out of these events and everything else.

The Questions 

When you lose a loved one, people will tell you that everything happens for a reason. But for what reason? That it’s okay for you to live without an aunt because it was better off that way? Lots of questions will flood your mind. Did they have to go so soon? What happens to the children they’ve left behind? How will they grow without a mother? You think of the future they had planned, and everything doesn’t make sense. Why? you will ask. Why them? Why me? But all these questions won't have answers because sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.

Overwhelming Emotions 

Everything is intense. The sorrow. The anger. The pain. Shock. Hopelessness. Your heart is heavy, you can feel the pain physically. The chest pains, panic attacks, headaches, exhaustion… Everything is consuming you and you seem to be lost. You are mad at God for allowing this to happen. And mad at the world. How are things normal when you are falling apart? How is the world spinning when you have lost someone you loved dearly? This is when it hits you that the world doesn’t care. No matter what, the sun will still shine in the morning.

The Denial 

I was at work when I got a call from my mum. My grandfather was dead. He had suffered from multiple illnesses because his organs were shutting down slowly. One after the other. The news seemed surreal to me. We may have seen it coming, but we were hopeful he would recover. We had faith that he would get well and come back home. But he came back home in a coffin. 

The day we laid him to rest, I thought something would happen and he would come back to life. I didn’t want him trapped somewhere beneath the ground. But he was, and he wasn’t coming back to us. 

Mourning And Grieving

Mourning is part of healing. It is part of processing. And everyone is allowed to grieve in their own special way, no matter the time it takes. It’s okay to talk about grief and to allow emotions to run through you. No one prepares us for such events but such is life. There are things beyond our grasp. They hurt, we lose part of ourselves in the process but in our hearts they are alive. And their memories ae forever imprinted in our hearts.

Read: Inside The Head Of An Overthinker