Mental Health Tips : How to Cope With the Death of a Loved One
How to Cope With the Death of a Cousin
The death of any family member can be devastating. Yet, some people grow up alongside their cousins from adolescence into adulthood. If you are particularly close to your cousin, you may feel as if you have lost a sibling or a best friend. No mourning period is easy but you can learn how to cope with losing a cousin by being gentle with yourself and being patient.
Grieving the Loss
Embrace your feelings.Grieve. Many people wrongly assume that ignoring their feelings or “toughing it out” will help the pain go away more quickly. This is a common myth associated with grief.Do not be afraid to cry or scream or whatever you think helps you react to the loss. Before you can move on from losing a loved one you must first mourn their loss.
- Children and teens typically follow suit with the reaction of the adults in their lives. If the adults openly grieve and show sorrow, the children may feel more comfortable doing this, too. However, if the adults try to swallow their feelings or stay strong, the youth may think grieving is inappropriate or a sign of weakness.
Don’t feel weird if you react differently than others.Even if you have encountered a loss before, you may react differently after your cousin’s death depending on your relationship with this person and the unique circumstances surrounding the death. As there is no normal death, there is also no ordinary response to death. Common reactions to death include:
- Shock. At first, it may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that your cousin is gone. You may feel completely numb and no pain at all; you may also argue with others and deny the truth. You may even be filled with anticipation and hope, waiting for your cousin to appear and clear up this misunderstanding.
- Anger. You may feel upset and resentful after your cousin’s death. You may have angry and bitter feelings toward yourself, medical professionals, God, and or even towards your cousin for leaving you.
- Guilt. You may feel guilty that you couldn’t prevent what happened or that you survived.
- Sadness. This is one of the most common reactions to death. Sadness may include feeling like there is a hole in your life, loneliness, or hopelessness. You may cry for hours on end.
Know that grief takes time.After a death in the family, everyone must heal and grieve at their own pace. Some people may start to feel better in a few weeks while, for others, the grieving process may take months or more. Be patient with yourself and anticipate that you will feel better again in your own time.
Talk to someone.During this mourning period surround yourself with family and close friends who will be able to support you during this process. Often it helps to talk about your emotions rather than bottling them up, as this can make healing and growing after a loss more difficult.
Commemorate your cousin.This can be done through the observance of rituals such as funerals/cremations. Attending the funeral can give you the much needed closure, and helps you to realize you are not the only one mourning.
- If your family does not follow a religion or have memorial services, you can find other meaningful ways to commemorate your cousin.
Remember your cousin's life.Once you have come to terms with the loss of your cousin you can then move on to fondly remembering the time you spent together. This can help you to appreciate the time that you had together and honoring your cousin’s memory by focusing on the positives.
- You might even start a tradition of celebrating this person’s birthday each year or releasing balloons on this day to keep his/her memory alive.
Live your own life to the fullest.Your cousin would not want you to mourn forever. You must live life yourself. Although this may seem a long way off to you at the moment, there will come a day when you will not think of your lost one as often or with as much pain. Then, you can live for your cousin, and live to the fullest.
- Suggestions for living your life to the fullest might be to take advantage of the time you have on earth to set new goals. Create a "bucket list" of things you'd like to do before your own death, and start ticking items off.
Get professional help if you need it.Everyone reacts to death differently. If the death of your cousin provokes you to withdraw from friends or family, stop participating in school or performing at work, feel extremely depressed, or use drugs or alcohol to cope, you should see a mental health professional.
- A counselor or therapist can help you find positive ways of channeling your grief and coping with loss.
QuestionI feel like I need to cry in school, but I'm afraid my friends would laugh. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst of all, I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. That's a tough thing to deal with and I know you're hurting. When my grandmother died last year, I was in the same boat as you. I was terrified that if I cried about her in school, I would look weak or get teased. It gets easier to cope with but the first few months/weeks are really tough. The best thing you can do is to trust your friends. If they're going to tease you for crying about your cousin's death, then they're not really your friends anyway. If they're truly your friends, then they will do whatever they can to support you and make you feel better.Thanks!
QuestionMy Cousin died 10 months ago and I am still hurting so badly, I can't seem to focus on anything or be interested in the things I used to be so interested in and none of my family knows how I feel. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt sounds like you were close with our cousin. Your cousin probably wants you to move on and to be happy. One way to honor those that have passed on is to live life to the fullest in their memory. That said, if you are really hurting and the feeling is overwhelming, you may want to let those around you know so that you can get the help you need. You may need counseling or a doctors help.Thanks!
QuestionMy cousin died today and I don't feel anything. It's like she didn't die. I just don't believe it.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat's completely normal. You're probably in shock. Most likely it will begin to feel real to you over the next few days. Make sure you talk about your feelings with your family and/or a counselor, as this will help you come to terms with the death.Thanks!
QuestionMy cousin passed away about four months ago and she would have turned 27 in four days. I've done almost all the things this list provided but it still hurts so much. What should I do?Top AnswererFour months isn't enough time for you to get over the passing of a cousin. It is not surprising you are still hurt by your loss. Focus on getting through each part of your day, getting up, getting through till lunch, then getting through till it's time for bed. Think about your cousin as much as you want to, but don't feel bad if a few hours go by when you don't think about her. Talk to others about your feelings, and your cousin and what she meant to you. Even if you are still hurting in another four months, the key thing is you made it through those four months.Thanks!
QuestionMy cousin died exactly one year ago. It was an accidental suicide, but I'm still having trouble believing it, even though I was at the funeral. I feel like I've been stabbed in the heart repeatedly. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI really feel your pain, a very close family friend of mine died. Stay strong, he/she misses you up in heaven. Remember the good times you had, and know that he/she would want you to remember the good times instead of focusing on the death. If anything gets too bad, call a counselor and make an appointment. It really helps, trust me.Thanks!
Video: Everything around them is still there, dealing with sudden loss | Marieke Poelmann | TEDxUtrecht
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