Acceptance and Healing: A Guide to Coping With an Unexpected Death

Death is one of the hardest topics to deal with. No one wants to have that conversation, but unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable part of life. It’s one thing when a loved one passes away after a battle with an illness, but another thing entirely when life is lost unexpectedly.

When someone abruptly passes away, their loved ones have had no time to develop their coping mechanisms. It’s natural and common to feel overwhelmed by the grief. It can make healing a much more complicated process.

To learn more about how to cope with and heal from an unexpected death, refer to the guide below.

Recognizing Bereavement

The first step to recognizing bereavement is to understand what it is. Bereavement is a state of being after the loss of life occurs.

During bereavement, both grief and mourning occur. These terms may sound similar, but they’re actually different. Grief is the emotional reaction to loss, while mourning is the coping and social process of dealing with loss.

Understanding these fundamental parts of loss can help people deal with it.

The Stages of Grief

Grief is an essential part of bereavement, but it doesn’t always look the same. Despite this, a Swiss psychologist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five common stages.

  • Denial, the first stage, can feel like shock, numbness, fear, avoidance, or confusion
  • Anger, the second stage, can feel like anxiety, frustration, abandonment, or irritation
  • Bargaining, the third stage, can involve negotiation, major life changes, and guilt
  • Depression, the fourth stage, can feel overwhelming, lead to a sense of emptiness, and involve withdrawal
  • Acceptance, the fifth stage, can mean stabilization, adjustment, and moving on

The most important thing to know is that someone may experience one, some, or none of these stages. They may also experience them in a different order. Just being aware that they exist can help someone develop their coping skills.

Asking for Help

It’s difficult for someone in the throes of grief to know what to do after a loved one dies — especially if it’s unexpected. It’s crucial to remember that asking for help is not only okay, but an effective way to cope with loss.

Reaching out to family and friends can be difficult, but the biggest hurdle is sending that initial message or making that initial call. It’s likely that these people are ready and willing to offer a helping hand.

There are also professional services dedicated to mourners. This might be a licensed therapist or even a local funeral home. Both are experienced in helping people through loss and can offer different perspectives.

More Ways to Handle an Unexpected Death

Unexpected death does not look the same or feel the same for everyone. No one wants to expect that their loved one will die, and any loss feels like a shock to the system. Even if your loss was not unexpected, you can use these strategies to help you through this difficult time.

For professional services coordinating the details after the loss of a loved one, you can contact us any time of the day and any day of the year.