Coping with Death
People cope with the loss of a loved one in many ways. For some, the experience may lead to personal growth, even though it is a difficult and trying time. There is no right way of coping with death. The way a person grieves depends on the personality of that person and the relationship with the person who has died. How a person copes with grief is affected by the person’s cultural and religious background, coping skills, mental history, support systems, and the person’s social and financial status.
The definition of coping is described in the text as the “constantly changing (dynamic) cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage internal and/or external demands exceeding the resources of the person. This emphasizes that coping behaviors go beyond routine, adaptive behaviors.
In 1990, my aunt Ann started experiencing heart-problems. My family was very close to Ann because she lived only a block away. Aunt Ann would walk over to our house everyday for a visit. During this particular summer, Ann noticed that she was becoming increasingly out of breath from just the short walk. The entire family strongly urged that she see a doctor as soon as possible.
After her doctor’s visit that she reluctantly went to, she announced to the family that she was suffering from a damaged heart valve. We were all terrified about what would happen to her, but she assured us that the doctor said it could be fixed with a minimal risk.
When she went into surgery in St. John’s Medical Center in St. Louis, we were all there and confidant that everything would go as planned. The doctors came out about one hour into the surgery to inform us that the damage was much worse than they initially thought. They told us that they would keep us updated on her progress. Two hours later they came out to tell us that her heart stopped beating and they tried everything they could to revive her, but she had died.
Through the next couple of days our family went through some of the coping stages. We experienced anger because we did not know the severity of the damage, we were depressed and then we had to come to accept God’s will. Ann was a devout Christian and we found comfort of knowing where she was going to.
The day that Ann passed away her husband found a note she had wrote the day before her surgery in case she did not make it. The text states that some people experience suspected awareness. This is when the person that is ill suspects that more might be going on than what was initially suspected. She wrote a little note to everyone in the family. We shared many laughs and tears together while reading the note together as a family.