We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been given the news about a loved one who has an allotted time to live and for all the family members to come in. Whenever you receive news like this you have two choices to make that will potentially change you until the end of your own days. You could either shut down and avoid the situation at all costs, or you can brave through all the anxiety and fear and face it head on.
This is usually the category that I fall into and is usually the category that most don’t understand and will think that you just don’t care. The truth is that you do care, you just don’t really know how to deal with your emotions. You want to be left alone and let your thoughts run wild in your head. The pain is too much to deal with and you don’t want to talk to anyone and brood.
This type of person is also more prone to substance abuse to dull their senses. The pain is too much for them to handle and they don’t know how to express themselves so they hope to erase the pain. Doing this more often than not does nothing but make things worse and will make the person feel awful later that day or the next day.
The main emotion that they know how to express is anger. The anger usually stems from the feelings of guilt or regret. Perhaps the feeling that they could have done more or should have said more. Maybe they feel like they should have come around more or spent more time with them or feel like they have something left unsaid. Or maybe the guilt of not going to see that loved one as they’re about to pass.
Just because someone is shutting down doesn’t mean that they don’t care, they have many emotions running through them and are dealing with the pain in their own way.
Facing the Situation
This is the one that can be the most mentally and emotionally draining. I’d easily say that it’s the harder of the two (not saying that shutting down is easy). This type of person has to brave through their own emotions to be there for their loved ones and see them in a way that you never would have thought you’d see them in.
I’ve personally been in this situation more times then I would have liked. I’ve gotten the news about the love one, to get there because they have such and such time to make it. And always in the back of my mind there’s hope or disbelief. You go in feeling like everything is going to be ok. And as you drive or fly to your loved one the anxiety builds the closer you get to their location making a 10 hour drive feel like a 30 min one because in the back of your head you’re afraid to see them.
Whenever you walk into the room you’re immediately crushed by the appearance of your loved one, they usually don’t look the same whether it be from bloating or just all the machines that they’re hooked into. They’re usually not coherent and their breathing isn’t quite the same either. It is at that point you realize the hope you usually hold has gone out the window.
The most earth shaking decision someone can ever make in their life is whenever you have to make they choice to take them off of machines. At first you wont think clear and want to keep them going because you love them, but later on you have to ask yourself how they will live after this? Will they be the same? Will they want this? Will they be comfortable? The choice isn’t really yours, it’s what they would want and you need to make the right choices.
Inevitably no matter how you deal with the loss of a loved one, it leads to a path of grief.