Laura's Personal

A trauma, such as death, is something that has a huge impact on one’s life.  My life has been dramatically affected by such an event . After losing a loved one, a person tends to be viewed differently by others. In fact, family, friends, and peers may even act differently around that person. One tends to think that after experiencing the death of a loved one, the person becomes stronger.  “They have been through it all”  and  “They can handle anything” are commonly said about a person who has experienced loss. This huge expectation is placed upon this person’s shoulders when hearing that others expect them to have the ability to handle anything that comes their way in life. Are we not allowed to be sad anymore because nothing can be worse than what has already happened to us? Do we always have to be the leader and never let anything bother us? Are we not allowed to cry or recall old memories? These are some of the many questions that floated through my mind after losing my father. Why do people expect me to be so strong when internally I feel so weak and powerless?

I strongly disagree that one becomes stronger after experiencing death, but after experiencing such a tragedy I did learn many things and my own expectations have been forever changed. I realized, at a very young age, that life isn’t always fair. What we expect our lives to be, changes in an instant. Some people expected me to never laugh again and always be serious and almost emotionless. In fact, feeling as though “I will never laugh or smile again" is common after going through a traumatic event. But the reality is I'm still going to laugh whenever I watch the cartoon- Spongebob and I’m still going to cry every time I watch the movie- Marley and Me. Life does move on. What we all must learn when helping a friend or loved one who is grieving is that a simple  smile or hug or doing some fun activity with that person, is often all that is needed to make the grief less painful. The expectations on the consoler to do or say the right thing  can be just as burdensome.  I have also learned that we  can’t be expected do it all on our own. Sometimes when we fall down and we can’t get up by ourselves, we need that helping hand to get back on our own two feet. Never expect that someone has become stronger after experiencing death because in reality we all react to tragedy in different ways. Recovery comes with time, but there should never be any expectations as to how long that should take. Everyone recovers at a different pace and  the reality is that you can never really fully recover from such a tragedy anyway. In grief, there really should be no expectations. There should only be hope for better days ahead.