Generally it takes 18-24 months to stabilize after the death of a family member. If the death was a violent one, it can take much longer. It is important to recognize the length of the mourning process. Do not develop unrealistic expectations of yourself.
The first period after a tragic event is usually a period of shock or numbness. Often you slide “into the pits” 4 - 7 months after the event. When you are in the pits and feeling the despair, this may be the time when other people are expecting you to be over the loss.
When people ask you how you are doing, don’t be polite and say, “Fine.” Let people know how terrible you feel.
Talking with a true friend or with others who have been there and survived can be helpful. Those who have been there speak your language. This helps you realize that you are not alone.
Often depression is a cover for anger. Find appropriate ways to release your bottled-up anger. What you are going through seems so unfair and unjust.
It’s all right to cry, to question, to be weak. Beware of allowing yourself to be “put on a pedestal” by others who tell you what an inspiration you are because of your strength and your ability to cope so well. If they only knew!
Remember, this may be the first death of someone close. You’re new at this, and you don’t know what to do or how to act. You need help.
Reach out and try to help others in some small ways at least. This little step forward may help prevent you from dwelling on yourself.
Many times of crisis ultimately can become times of opportunity. Your faith in yourself, in others, in God can be deepened through crisis. Seek out others who can serve as symbols of hope to you.