Coping with Unexpected Death September 10, 2020

Coping With Unexpected Death

When a loved one dies unexpectedly is a complete and utter shock to the system. Coping with an unexpected death is unique in the intensity in which grief occurs. 


Coping with the death of a loved one is extremely hard no matter the way they died. When someone dies unexpectedly the denial can really hit on a whole new level. 

Expected VS Unexpected Death

A loved one being diagnosed with a terminal illness has many layers to the grief you experience. One thing that is different in coping with an expected death vs an unexpected death is the ability to take the time to anticipate a life without them.  When coping with an unexpected death the hardest part is wrapping your mind around what happened and why. When you get the news it is a complete shock. 

Stages of Grief

  1. denial.
  2. anger.
  3. bargaining.
  4. depression.
  5. acceptance

Everyone experiences grief differently. I see the stages of grief not as a rigid set of steps you must pass through in the exact order they are written. I see it more as a general outline of where your emotions may go. There certainly is not an ideal or “normal” amount of time you will stay in each of the stages.

Staying in the Denial Stage of Grief

When coping with unexpected death it is not uncommon to remain in and pass in and out of the “denial” stage. Having someone be there in your life, so alive one minute and just gone the next can seem almost impossible to reconcile. Going back in your mind thinking of what you could have done differently to prevent the death or trying to understand why it happened can really be a dark hole where you get stuck. 

Tips to Dealing Coping with unexpected death

  1. Remember that grief is hard work. It is not comfortable. It isn’t easy and it is not fluid. Grief takes a toll on your body and mind. Grief can pop up at any time. When you feel as if you are going backwards, dig in and keep going. You will make it through.
  2. Feel the pain of the loss. You can’t pass through it if you do not allow yourself to feel it. Having a support system is crucial no matter where you fall in your grief story. Sympathetic friends and family as well as professional therapists and counselors. Finding support groups where you can find common ground is very beneficial to your healing. 


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