No measure of time, wealth or anything else this world has to offer will ever fully fill the void left behind following the death of a loved one. Everything worth cherishing comes at the same inevitable price: having to one day let go. The best any of us can ever hope for within the fleeting time we have together is not “happily ever after,” but rather “happily for as long as we can.”
Whether confronted suddenly under jarring and tragic circumstances or following a period of personal preparation for your inescapable grieving, it pays to greet the emotional uncertainty of carrying on without a living, breathing piece of your heart bolstered by an intimate acceptance of what moving forward with the rest of your own life will mean.
Coming to Terms
As painful and disorienting as mourning the loss of a loved one can become, that sorrow can often overshadow an opportunity to explore renewed perspectives of purpose and direction to our own remaining days.
As you make time to talk about the recently departed with friends, family and peers, expect to gradually understand their passing more deeply as you celebrate others who shared your fondness for them. Whereas denial is a perfectly natural aspect of the grieving process, resigning yourself to isolation will only create tension within your support system.
Instead, accepting the eventual anger, sadness, frustration and inner exhaustion that accompany mourning will prepare you to better care for both yourself and your family from one emotionally unpredictable day to the next, even if only one small step at a time. Many individuals channel their anguish into a resolve to reach out to others coping with similar heartache.
When given space and time, a spark compassion in the shadow of sadness can evolve into therapeutically celebrating the lives of lost loved ones through heartwarming stories of the best of times spent together and honoring their spirits through charitable works and symbolic acts of warm remembrance such as gathering photos, passing along a traditional family name or just enjoying the company of beloved people who remain by your side.
If nothing else, consider trusting the guidance of a licensed mental health professional to help come to terms with your most turbulent, possibly conflicting emotions.
How to be There
Meaningfully helping others around you grieve will not always entail knowing the “right thing” to say. It may mean not saying anything at all. For consideration during your most confusing and troubled moments, a few suggestions:
Let people talk and simply listen. There is no better way to come to grips with reality.
Abstain from judgment. Grief is not a broken arm or appendectomy. There is no definitive timetable for feeling even remotely “whole” again, no matter how composed someone may appear on the outside.
It’s ok to talk about a lost loved one. It doesn’t do any good to dance around the subject out of fear for making other bereaved friends and family around you feel bad. On the contrary, talking about the deceased serves as a reminder that they won’t be forgotten.
Stay in touch and ask about the well-being of other loved ones. Not everyone reaches out when in need. A phone call or, better yet, a personal visit may mean the world.
Be honest about your feelings, but consciously avoid cliches. Again, if you are unsure of anything to say from the heart, offering a simple hug or sympathy card could offer more than you will ever know.
If you see an immediate need, step up and offer to fill it. Take care of shopping and incidental errands. Prepare a meal, babysit so someone can take a night off, offer to help relatives who live out of town—anything that lets somebody know they aren’t facing a newly uncertain day-to-day life alone.
Most importantly, just take time to acquaint yourself with the accepted grieving process. If you haven’t already traversed it yourself, you one day will.
You Have Permission to Grieve
Sometimes, the worst thing you can do is pretend everything is fine. You may not want the loved ones sharing your grief to worry that you seem “weak” or vulnerable. As much as you may fear adding to their existing pain by baring your own wounds, giving them a chance to be there for you allows them to let their guards down and be vulnerable.
Ultimately, you can deepen those bonds by purging your distress together rather than sequestering yourselves in misery.
Most importantly, there will never be a more crucial time when everyone must muster the strength to ask for help. Whether you need a hand with a To-Do list or simply an understanding ear, pick up the phone when your friends or family ring to check up on you and make every effort to overcome your reservations about calling them.
If nothing else, think of it this way: extending a hand to you might be a pivotal moment in someone else’s mourning. Never underestimate the power of reconnecting with friends and family to brighten your darkest hours.
Dealing With Death Caused By Misdiagnosis
Again, a word of warning: no amount of money will fill the chasm left behind by a loved one’s death. By the same token, financial retribution when a medical establishment’s failure to detect or diagnose an ultimately fatal illness will not erase the lingering pain.
However, the monetary compensation to which you may be entitled under law can provide a valuable offset to funeral expenses and impact to household income if someone you love has been misdiagnosed by these and other debilitating illnesses:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
According to Dolman Law Group, Florida medical malpractice law limits medical malpractice filings and sworn statements to a two-year statute of limitations past which you may be permanently barred from seeking monetary recovery for damages, injuries or death.
It is best to consult an experienced, knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to review notice deadlines and immediately begin the legal actions necessary to protect your rights and potential recovery.
Florida differs from many other states in that another doctor must provide a sworn statement under oath affirming a misdiagnosis before a lawsuit can be filed. The plaintiff must then prove that the decedent’s death resulted proximately from breach of the acceptable standard of care.
Recoverable damages must fall within “fair and just” compensation for losses resulting from the decedent’s death, including:
- Lost support
- Loss of services (income) provided by the decedent
- Lost prospective inheritance
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Funeral costs
In short, damages are limited to compensation for the surviving members’ lost companionship and support. There’s an old saying: “Father Time is undefeated.” Eventually, we all bid farewell to someone we’ve previously never imagined our lives without. Remember, you being vulnerable does not make you “weak.” It demonstrates your humanity. Heal. Let the tears fall. Let the pain in, but do not believe for a moment that you must endure it alone.