Death is inevitable. It is a part of everyday life. In the year 2020, I’ve dealt with two significant deaths with my grandfather and brother. Coping with those deaths taught me not only about others, but about myself. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

I Took Time for Granted

My grandfather was 84 years old when he passed. Although he was around my entire life, I always knew he wasn’t going to be around forever. Death at his age was normal. My brother, however, died at the age of 25. It was unexpected for everyone. I thought I had 30-40 more years of life with him. Him passing made me realize that we don’t have as much time on Earth as we think. I learned a harsh lesson to stop taking time for granted, not only for my life, but with others as well.

Everyone Copes with Death Differently

My way of coping with death is joking about it. Whenever someone comforted me about my brother passing, I always made jokes about him as well as the entire situation itself. It was never intentional, mostly instinct.

While joking was my coping mechanism, it wasn’t the same for others. Some people who were impacted by my brothers death cried to cope, while others avoided talking about it entirely. It taught me that everyone has their way of coping with the situation, and we all should understand and accept the differences.

Take Care of your Mental Health

Losing people you love is never easy. It’s not supposed to be. It can take a toll on you not only emotionally, but mentally. During times of death, it is important to take care of your mental health.

Some of the things I’ve done to take care of my mental health is spending time with my family/friends, going for walks, watching stand-up comedy, meditation, and journaling. Find healthy things that you enjoy doing and do them often.

Don’t be afraid to be Vulnerable

You may feel like you must be strong during the death of a loved one. While everyone around you is grieving, you must be the one who keeps it together. They believe that showing emotion is weak, and they must be strong for everyone around them.

If you feel like you need to cry, that’s fine. Showing vulnerability while coping with death helped me grieve better. I never cried in front of people until my brother and grandpa died, and I have no shame about it. If you are not comfortable being vulnerable around other people, find someone you can trust and express yourself towards them. Crying can be great for the soul.

Allow yourself to feel

Tying to my last point, being able to feel and work through your emotions are important to cope with death. It’s normal to experience a roller coaster of emotions. During my coping process, I’ve felt sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, joy, and happiness. Every feeling is temporary. Be patient with yourself while you deal with your emotions.

Give People their Flowers while they’re here to smell them

There’s a saying, “People want to bring flowers to your funeral, but don’t want to bring you soup when you’re sick.” That quote continuously replayed in my mind during my grieving process.

I wished that while my grandfather and brother were here that I could’ve let them know how much I loved and cared about them. I wished that I could’ve told them more about how proud I am of them. I feel like I didn’t tell them as much as I should. If you have someone in your life that you can’t imagine life without them, I encourage you to let them know that. Tell them often that they are important to you. Uplift them. Let them know you are proud of them. You never know what a person is going through, your words can make a difference. Don’t wait to give them their flowers while they are no longer here to smell them.

Drinking Solves NOTHING

Guilty as charged. I’ve done my fair share of drinking while coping with death, and it hasn’t been my proudest of moments. I’ve allowed my drinking to do things I normally wouldn’t do, and it has effected my relationships with other people. While drinking may relieve you temporarily from your problems, it won’t help you solve any of them. Refrain from it as much as possible.