A few months ago, on the cusp of the greatest pain I have ever personally experienced, I received one of those well-meaning phrases that stirred up emotions I hadn’t experienced before; “It’s a good thing that as a thanatologist it won’t hurt so much and you’ll get over it sooner than the rest of us. I still feel the echo of these words drilling in my head.
Death is one of those experiences that psychologists, thanatologists, doctors and health professionals in general deal with in an artificially developed and so-called professional and vicarious manner, but which does not escape the experience of life that one has or will have at some point in one’s life, since dying is the natural consequence of being alive, and for this reason it is important to know how to manage the mourning of a loved one , or at least to be able to count on the resources to go through those moments in the best possible way.
Losing a close loved one not only upsets one’s self esteem and life purpose, but also compromises the stability of what has been built up over the course of a grieving experience. But what happens when the loss expert does not accept your losses? What happens when pain rethinks the very way of facing an absence? What do you do when medicine does not comfort the same doctor who recommends it?
Of course, part of the treatment is to request the treatment itself. However, this will not prevent the very pain of loss ; and in the flesh, discovering that it also does not necessarily prevent each of the stages of grief, each of those dark thoughts and each of those stages of anger against life from appearing and leaving their mark as they pass.
What can be done in need of comfort in this situation?
The most powerful tool that people have to repair, rebuild, reorganize and comfort themselves is the emotional and physical closeness of another human being . The trust in contact, the privacy that intimacy provides and the certainty of being heard is the most effective, although not necessarily immediate, medicine to soften the ravages of the irremediable.
If you ever have someone by your side who relates in some way to the pain of others in a professional way, either directly or indirectly, I can tell you that they need the same comforting hug and caring ear as any other human being going through the experience of losing a loved one as any other person, without direct relationship to the subject in a professional way.
If this happens to you, remember that the mourning experience is not a standard or generalizable experience . The experience of mourning for death is unique, incomparable and inevitable at some point in life, so relying on a loved one and empathy will be the best remedy.
Grieving for death
If you have the honor and opportunity to accompany someone in this process directly, professionally or non-professionally, it is necessary to be open so that the free expression of prejudice flows and the emotions fulfill their function of beginning to organize the interior broken by the trauma. And, above all, take into account that common sense, respect for the uniqueness of the experience, as well as shared silence, although in everyday life they are disregarded, in these cases, are the syrup that facilitates the digestion of the most bitter of the experience of a loss by death.
Of course, thanatological or psychotherapeutic support is desired but not indispensable to overcome a loss by death. Go to the professional if possible, otherwise seek the company of someone you trust to support you in the most difficult moments of your grief. In the event that you do not find any consolation or your grief becomes increasingly suffocating, you should go to a professional who is properly prepared to accompany you with respect, dignity and openness.
Alva Ramirez Villatoro, Psychologist .