Grieving a Sudden/Unexpected Death

This is my experience about how I eventually transformed the terrible darkness of despair and healed as I chose to enter into the light. How did I do it? I rose to my highest and strongest self and chose LOVE and LIGHT, rather then sinking to my lowest and weakest self, and allowing FEAR and BITTERNESS to overcome me. 

Here is my story on… How to grieve the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one…

When you hear the news, you simply refuse to believe what their mouth is saying and what your ears are hearing. Perhaps all sounds will cease and you will be left with only the motion of their mouth moving as shock and denial set in.

Emotions swell quickly. You know…. the ones you would rather not feel. The ones you’ve worked so hard all your life to avoid. No one likes these ones, but nevertheless, it doesn’t stop them from coming forth with unabashed fury and intensity. Oh, this is intense! Breathe.

Confusion sets in. You are completely disoriented. You try to understand, but can’t. You can’t think straight!

You didn’t see this one coming. “How did I not see this coming?”, you keep asking yourself…over and over again.

You wait. You pray. You promise. Whatever it takes to make this not be so. You want someone to wake you up from this bad dream! But the nightmare continues as bits of reality begin to pierce your veil of disbelief.

Your whole world has been placed on hold now. Time stands still. Nothing makes sense anymore.

You remember the last words spoken. What you did or didn’t do. You can’t believe this has happened. It wasn’t supposed to happen!!!!

You ask repeatedly, “Why did it happen?” “Why did it have to happen?”
Although these two questions are only separated by a slight distinction they ask completely different questions. You expect an answer to both of them immediately!

You imagine knowing the answer might help. The reality is that it probably won’t.  Once you mull it over and over, you will again remember that your loved one is not coming back to life as you once knew them.  Breathe. 

You are in pain. You are suffering. You are broken-hearted! I know.

If you watched them draw their last breath – all the worse.

You have mixed emotions. They range from sadness to anger and everywhere in between.

In the process, you meet your strongest self. You meet your weakest self. Welcome to the extreme world of your dual nature!

Temporary escapes from behind the bars of denial allow you to wake up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night; just long enough to hear that what woke you was your own shrieking cry.

No, you are not waking from the nightmare. The nightmare has just begun.

You call out in pain begging for relief. God? Are you there? Everything you believe is about to be tested.

You try to sleep. You can’t. Then you do from sheer exhaustion.

You try to eat. You can’t. Then you have to for the strength to grieve some more.

You have lost your appetite for everything… life included!

You wonder how you will ever go on without them.

You think back to a happier time. It breaks your heart because you realize they are not there. You are in the past now. Bad neighborhood. You must go forward. Always forward. It will get easier. I promise.

You wonder how much time was wasted while they were still alive.

You may feel some guilt when wondering if you did all you could have done.

You may need someone or something to blame. Damn it! This pain needs a scapegoat!

Life has ceased for your loved one. Now it has ceased for you too. Welcome to the living dead!

You scream. You cry. You kick your feet, but it doesn’t matter. Life doesn’t care that you had plans together, that this is very inconvenient and it shouldn’t be this way! You get to deal with this now.

Sometimes you wail in pain. Other times you may be as mad as hell! Then…if you are lucky, you go into a catatonic stupor for a while. You eventually emerge again. You become quiet and go far away, fading deep into thought. But try not to think too much – wandering off into a past that no longer exists. I already told you – bad neighborhood! Don’t go there!!!

You will not find your loved one there. No one exists anywhere except the present. This will be vital for you to learn. I mean it!

You will try to have a positive attitude. You will try to be strong, maybe even stoic. You may think you are so spiritually evolved that you are past all this “life stuff” by now….or even worse…. that you should be. This may add to your guilt when you find yourself but – a mere human.

Important: If you are not conscious for and during this, you will try to repress and bypass this whole process. But do yourself a favor … DON’T.  Going through this will serve you greatly!!!  Stay conscious.

With eyes, mind and heart wide open courageously face your pain. It will get easier.           I promise!

You will not understand what happened or why. You just can’t. It’s too soon for perspective now. This won’t stop you from ruminating though. Do what you have to do.

Many times you feel alone and isolated.

It’s hard for you to ask for help. You don’t know exactly what you want and need now that your loved one is gone. YOU WANT AND NEED YOUR LOVED ONE!!!  But sadly, this is no longer possible. The pain deepens as the reality of this further crashes in.

Well-meaning people will do and say insensitive and dumb things. Sometimes they don’t even call to see how you are. (Freakin’ people!)  But not that you think they could completely understand anyway. Give them a pass. No one, no matter how empathetic they are can really “get” this experience unless they have been through it themselves.

There will be those brave souls that will call, visit, send you a message or give you a book at just the perfect moment. You will wonder if you had just been visited by an Angel. You have!! These Earth Angels will play a vital role in your healing process. Thank you Earth Angels!!!!

Expect many days of swollen eyes. Not to worry. After a while, it is surprising that eventually, they swell no more. A mental and emotional purging has taken place. No longer is it so obvious to others that you are still balling your eyes out on a continual basis. Remember… there are only so many tears.

You calculate your loss. You wonder how you will ever fill this void. Intuitively, you know you can’t… but thoughts try to creep in to say you can and you should. But…. there is no void. Your loved one has not gone…  only the body has. Can love really ever die? Do they stop loving you? Do you stop loving them? No, of course not. Love survives beyond the grave.

Take a deep breath now and believe me when I say. “There is no void.”

Even so, you will try to make this better. It is human nature to do so.

Be kind to yourself. Allow it to be as it is. This too shall pass. I promise!

Some days you feel better and think you are getting over it. Unexpectedly, the next day might be just as bad as it was at the beginning. Be brave. Feel what there is to feel without trying to fix it. Everything’s going to be alright.

If you are extremely sensitive, you will become aware of new and yet, unnamed emotions. It’s kind of cool.

You may experience other feelings such as sudden rage, resignation, boredom, desperation, surrender and despair. (A journal to record dreams, experiences, thoughts and feelings is very productive and therapeutic.)                                                               And speaking of feelings … let’s not forget about the occasional inappropriate laughter that sometimes bubbles up to the surface…. usually at the worst time and place possible… like…. exactly in the middle of a viewing or funeral! It is important to know that some people laugh because they can’t cry. This could be you.

For some, the grief process will be mild, for others it will be traumatic. You will deal with this experience the only way you can.

You still feel raw. You are sensitive to everything.

But now, after experiencing the full range of emotions created from grief, especially anger, you have an important choice to make to avoid getting stuck in the ever-consuming depths of the “dark side.”

Because of what happened, you may take the path of bitterness and fear, or you may take the path of light and love.

The choice is completely yours.

If you take the path of fear, you never heal correctly or completely, if at all. You will live in a world of fear and scarcity. You will clutch tightly to blame and resentment. You will hold yourself and others hostage in the prison of the unforgiven. You will always be someone’s victim. They will always be yours. You will be a victim of circumstance. You will withhold your love, thereby surrendering your true power. You will live in a painful past that no longer exists. You will fear the future.  You will become resigned and cynical. Fear will be your Master! There are so many things that you will deny, but most of all – you will impair your growth and block real opportunity and possibilities for your soul’s development with your fear and bitterness.

If you take the path of love, you will have increased compassion. With time, you will gain a healthy perspective. You will become peaceful. You will not have to understand anymore, you will just trust what happened. You will gain wisdom and grace. You will heal to become a greater being than you could have ever before imagined, for you have been purified in the refiner’s flame and found worthy of the test of fire. There are many blessings given, but perhaps the greatest of all is this.  LOVE will become your teacher. Among many things taught, you will learn that you are never without your loved ones; for you will know that love can never die. You will grow and develop into the embodiment of LOVE itself. Not too shabby!

Death can be a harsh teacher; it tends to make us have to choose between love and fear, and faith and doubt. Because of the pain, you may want to react by closing your heart. But… if death is faced with open eyes, heart and mind, death has the ability to bear great gifts.

Who have you been being? Who are you going to be now?

Are you going to be your strongest self or your weakest self?

It’s your choice!

Love or fear?

May I suggest that you dare to open your heart up completely- even wider than it has ever been opened before.

Even though it is very difficult and seems counter-intuitive, find the courage to embrace the experience. It actually dissolves the pain. Be courageous.

I suggest that you feel everything that rises up in you. Feel it all without running away and trying to medicate it. Remember, each tragedy only has so many tears that can fall. Feel your way through this. It gets easier. I promise!

Although you might have moments when you wish you would die, this experience won’t kill you. It will purge and purify your soul. You will emerge as a stronger new you. Thank goodness for time!!!

Be brave. Trust. Be worthy of all the potential this experience has to offer you.

Mental/Emotional pain exists only in the brain’s memory of the past and fear of the future. It cannot exist in the awareness of the present moment. You may have to experiment with this one before you believe me.

You may think you are alone in your experience. You are not. It helps to remember that many people all over the planet are experiencing a version of what you are going through right this minute. These people are just like you.

It’s unfortunate, but it is part of life. And… you are never alone. Really!

You will undoubtedly confront your own mortality. Breathe. This is really intense!      Proceed boldly.

It gets easier though. I promise!

Stay awake and participate in transforming this tragedy into love beyond measure. You can do this! I know you can.

Talk, talk, talk to any willing and courageous soul you can find that will just listen to you as you ramble and free associate. It takes a special person who can just listen to your pain without trying to fix you. You are not broken. You are only experiencing an aspect of life…. death!

And lastly, always, always, always… Choose love!

In the end… Love is all there is.

(Taken from my own experience of losing Christian)

Two paths

21 thoughts on “Grieving a Sudden/Unexpected Death

  1. Beautiful beginning to getting your work out there Jade! I’ve experienced unexpected and deep grief and mourning over the loss of a loved one through divorce. Good words for all loss. (Have you son help you add photos along the side to highlight your individual posts, then teach me how to do it!)

  2. Thanks for sharing yourself.
    This is such an accurate picture of the world of grieving.
    Peace and comfort to all who go through this.

  3. I am so inspired by you Jade! I love your blog! Beautiful poem!! Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your personal stories with us. It is beyond words to see you so lit up and passionate about helping people who are grieving like you were. I am so glad that you are truly happy!! If you can go from the depths of hell to pure joy it is possible for everyone! Yes! Take the path of love!

  4. I lost my husband almost 25 years ago to suicide, my children were 6 and 9. The feelings you describe are exactly how a person feels. I have read many books, gone to therapy, talk to people over the years, this website is life changing in I truly realize I am not crazy in my thoughts or should not have happiness again. I am the person I was before his death, except due to such a tragic death, changed the family life. But, I have a granddaughter, son in law, new generation and decided a year ago I had to let go of some of my husband’s relatives (2 sisters) who we never did see eye to eye on so many things. I felt I owed it to them, noone owes anyone their freedom and peace of mind. Thank you for sharing. You are a beautiful person.

    • Thank you, Jan. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Really. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s so helpful for those who are trying to cope with the unspeakable and unimaginable tragic events that can occur in life. I’m sorry for your loss. It seems like you have used your experience to grow and develop into the amazing person that I sense you to be. Good for you! You are inspiring!

  5. I come to this web site everyday now. My son 26 year old Dustin died on June 30 2015. I am heart broken. Your blog helps me try to regroup. Your feeling are exactly what I am now going through. This pain is unbearable. I have never felt anything like this before. You give me courage to go on.
    I would not wish this pain on anyone.
    Thank you for your post. This is a wonderful site full of hope.

    • Thank you so much. I am so happy to be of service. This site was born from the ashes of my own sorrow. I know what pain is, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs.
      I know the pain is intense, raw and nothing like people who are not experiencing it could ever know or relate to. Hang tight though, deal with the pain through your heart and not your head and you will get through it. I promise. 🙂 Death is not easily ignored, but I also promise you that he is still with you. He might come to you in dreams or in other ways to reassure you, his beloved mother. The after-death communication part of this site on the navigation bar that says “metaphysical” is where you will find them. They have been shared by people just like you; broken-hearted over their loss, but they have had communication with their loved ones, helping them to be strong and continue on until they are reunited again. My love goes out to you in your time of sorrow.

  6. Dear Jade it is almost 1 year since I lost Jason. I am so happy that I found you. Last year you helped me when I was so traumatized I didn’t understand what I was feeling. I just reread this post and can associate with everything you wrote. Watching Jason die had a profound effect on me and I am no longer the same person I was before. I know now that I chose love but it feels more like love chose me as there was no real choice even when i just wanted to curl up and die too. I no longer just want to survive this but I want to really learn to live in honor of his memory and our love . Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping me find my way on this journey. Lynda xxx

    • That’s so sweet, Lynda. Thank you. 🙂 I’m so happy that you are in the new space of your grief process. I know you know that however it looks to your eyes, your heart knows Jason has never really left. Yes, use the memory of Jason and your love to honor him now and cause great things to emerge in your new relationship with him. He is always by your side. Hugs. xo

  7. my husband of 32 yrs died of a stroke march 23 2017,he was my a whole life as i was his. your blog was just how i feel .i really have no idea what to say i want to scream and cry and no one hears me i am trying to get through this with the help of god and without medicine but i feel like i might not make it my kids think because it’s been a month i should be fine now and they have said i need my alone time. when i am at my lowest time right now. i am no longer young and not in the best of health i am 68 and reaching out

    • Hi Roseanne. Thank you for reaching out.

      I’m sorry for you loss. I know, it’s rough to have to go through this. Hugs.
      I’m afraid that your children don’t understand grief. Most people don’t unless they have experienced it in a profound way, like what you are experiencing. Grief lasts as long as it does. I don’t need to tell you that one month is certainly not enough time and being alone may not be the best of ideas
      The thing with people surrounding a grieving person. They see us struggling with our loss and it’s very uncomfortable for them to know what to do. It’s also difficult for them to have to delve into the territory that is death. Most people never deal with the idea of death, the death of a loved one, let alone their own impending death. This is what is at the bottom of it all. Ultimately… we will all pass through that door someday and it is very confronting. Forgive your children. They are terrified.

      I know that this is a very difficult time for you and that it would be nice to have someone to lean on for support. God is a good choice. Remember. If you need medicine, then you do, but grief is usually not cured by medicine, you just have to go through the grief process, which is its own medicine.

      Hang in there. I have a lot of helpful things on my site that is intentionally designed to assist people in such a dark time. I hope you will be comforted. Although it certainly feels like it, you are not alone. 🙂

  8. Jade,
    I cannot thank you enough for sharing. In an empty house, surviving the loss of my wife of 29 years, I’ve searched the internet for understanding and direction. This has, by far, been the most helpful reading. It reminded me of how loving my wife was and that I too can choose love. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Steve. 🙂 You are so kind.
      My heart goes out to you. So sorry for your loss. I know it’s tough, but love is so much bigger than fear. I’m so glad this message has helped. You sweetheart sounds like a wonderful being. Always know that love is the bond that keeps us together through time and space. She is always with you now. Hugs.

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