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Learning to cope with the death of a loved one

When our loved ones are taken from us suddenly due to a tragic accident, we are unprepared for the magnitude of the loss, and the grief can consume us in the weeks and months that follow.

One coping mechanism that may be helpful is to pursue a civil suit for wrongful death. Taking concrete action against those who bear responsibility for a loved one's death can have a galvanizing effect on some survivors. However, for others, more steps may need to be taken. Below are some potential coping mechanisms for those who are grieving a loss.

-- Establish a support system to turn to when waves of grief threaten to derail any progress that has been made. Having designated shoulders to cry on or people to prop you up after a meltdown can be therapeutic.

-- Celebrate your loved one's life. This can be something as simple as framing some special photographs, or as elaborate as starting a charity or foundation in their memory. Whatever works for you and honors their footprint on this earth is sufficient.

-- Make a commitment to move on with life. There is wisdom behind the old adage, "Life is for the living." Few have the luxury to wallow in grief for extended periods, and making an effort to move through a wall of sadness can propel one through to the brighter side.

-- Don't be afraid to talk about your loved one, both his or her life and death. If you find your focus remains more on his or her death than his or her life, it may be helpful to seek some short-term counseling.

Source: American Psychological Association, "Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one," accessed Oct. 09, 2015

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