Unexpected and Traumatic Death - What Do You Do?

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Even though 10% or more of reported deaths are unexpected and traumatic, you are still blindsided when it happens to those you love and care about. It is not something that one ever plans on and so are not only grieving emotionally, but have no idea on what to do in order to handle the practical aspects of death.

it is not helpful that medical and police personnel, trained to solve problems and find answers may seem very matter of fact or even uncaring. They may announce to you that you must make "arrangements" or even question you or other members of the family.

The reality is that they are usually caring individuals or they would not have been drawn to that line of work. However,in order to protect their own emotional energy, they make not take the time for personal or emotional responses to your pain.

Find an Advocate
The first thing to do is to ask for an advocate. You need someone to help you make decisions and try to understand what is happening and what you need to do. It may be a daily occurrence for them, but when it happens to your loved one, you feel as though you are the only one in the world to experience such deep emotional pain.

If you have a faith community leader, or a dear friend or family member who will support, listen and assist you, call them to come to you. If even making that phone call seems overwhelming, ask an official to contact them for you. This is not a time to be alone.

Do Not Make Major Decisions
Be very careful about jumping into decisions without someone who can be a little more rational than you are in situations of unexpected death. You do not need elaborate flower arrangements or an expensive casket, which you may be sold by unscrupulous funeral homes.

It is natural and understandable to be in shock. it is a shocking circumstance. Give yourself some time to adjust, absorb and act accordingly.

If Only..
In cases of unexpected and traumatic deaths, family and friends do not have the opportunity to say good-bye. Sudden infant death, suicide, homicide and accidents can leave everyone, but especially those who were close, feeling if only....

No matter how the death occurs, we often think somehow we could have done something more, better, more often etc. It is a vicious circle in our minds as we try to make sense of what has happened.

The reality is that we all do the best we can and bad things happen to good people all the time. It is not a judgment on them or on you. It just is.

Seek Bereavement or Grief Counseling
You may find that you need assistance in sorting out the emotions in your heart and mind. These are extreme situations and bring out extreme emotions that need to be addressed before you can go on with your life.

It is our wish that you find a safe and loving harbor to share your feelings and concerns. Unresolved grief and anger are at the root of much illness. For your own good and the good of other survivors, take care of yourself as you seek healing through your grief.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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