Lifestyle: How To Cope With The Immediate Aftermath Of A Loved One’s Death
Updated: Mar 30
No matter what, it's one of those things that we will never feel prepared for.
Emotionally, physically, and even financially, someone we love, such as a close relative, passing away means that we learn a lot in a very short space of time. But during this difficult period, how can we cope, not just with the immediate aftermath in a practical sense, but also in a personal sense?
The Immediate Practicalities
Registering the death and arranging the funeral are the two main points, to begin with. You need to register the death within five days, and you will need a medical certificate, either from the GP or hospital doctor. From there, you will get a “certificate for a burial” which you then pass to the funeral director. Arranging the funeral is something you can either do yourself or if you don't know where to begin, funeral homes have a funeral director that can sensitively guide you through the process. There are various costs but it can be paid for by either yourself, the person's estate, or from a financial scheme if the deceased person had one. As Kim Wilhelm emphasized, seniors who do not have life insurance can still get help to cover end of life expenses with burial insurance, so it's worth checking to see if your loved one had either type of insurance and, of course, arranging cover for yourself when you feel able to in order to ensure that your family will be able to cover costs when you pass away.
Sorting The Estate
There's a lot of admin associated with applying to deal with somebody's money or possessions: their estate. The official term is called “applying for probate.” It all depends if the person has left a will or not, and this can be a long process if everything wasn't tied up prior to the person’s passing. It's important to contact each asset holder, such as a bank, to find out if you need probate to access the assets. Because every organisation has its own rules, it can very well be a long process that might prove frustrating at a time when the last thing you need is more stress.
Processing The Grief
Administrative procedures aside, you've still got to process everything that's just happened. Because it's someone so close, there can be an outpouring of grief or you may feel that you have a more methodical approach because you have to deal with the estate and all of the administrative processes. But this still means you have to make time to process the grief. It might happen right away, or it might not happen until months, or even years afterwards. Dealing with all of these processes might prove therapeutic, but also, we have to remember that it's the equivalent of a closing of a book. This may mean the finality can prove to be too much. Naturally, we're all different, and we process things in our own way. But the important thing is to not try to avoid feeling upset. It's our body and mind’s way of processing the grief.
It sounds a bit of a harsh term, “moving on.” We all have to do it in our own way. It makes some realise the futility of life, so they begin to make more of it, but others may not feel ready to move on. When it is someone so close, moving on doesn't seem like an option. We have to remember that we are creatures of habit, and this major shock to the system will cause a lot of difficulties. But what we have to remember at this point is to not avoid feelings of sadness. And also, we have to remember that the person we've lost had a life, and they deserve to be celebrated, and this may prove to be a shaft of light in the darkness.