A Health Coach’s Perspective on Death

Posted on November 4, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. It’s too bad that so many people feel uncomfortable about this topic, and shy away from even thinking about it (or reading this post), because it’s considered morbid and negative. It’s a part of every single one of our lives. We’re all going to lose someone and have to deal with it, and then the people we leave behind will have to deal with our death. So we might as well talk about it, right?

I just lost a friend this past week. I’ve had a terrible time dealing with it. He was young, it was completely unexpected, and he left behind more friends and family than some people have after a full life. He was an amazing person, and I truly believe his spirit was too big for his body. He’s free to do as he wishes now.

I like to think that I have a healthy perspective on death. After all, I’m willing to talk about it, which is more than what most people can say. And when my 90-year-old grandma was in the hospital earlier this year, I completely prepared myself for her passing.

Turns out though, I’m not so good when someone goes before they’ve lived a full life, and before you know it’s going to happen. The shock factor is what made this one so hard for me.

Also, with my grandma, we threw her an amazing 90th birthday party, where everyone who loves her came and celebrated her life. For my friend, everyone gathered and celebrated his life after it had already ended. It was wonderful to hear how he had touched so many lives, and to see everyone from college reunited. But he was missing!

How unfair I find it when we celebrate a life after it has ended. Why didn’t we all get together when he was alive? Why didn’t I ever tell him how much he meant to me, how much he impacted my life, and how amazing of a person he was?

People shy away from that, too. It makes people uncomfortable to share feelings like that, just like it makes people uncomfortable to talk about death. No one wants to feel vulnerable. So we coop these feelings up inside of us, which in turn makes us sick, physically, mentally or emotionally. I discussed the importance of emotional openness in this blog post.

I keep feeling ridiculous when every couple hours of every single day since his passing, I cry. All of a sudden, sometimes for no reason at all, the water works start. Since I’ve never been a crier, and I’ve been someone to stifle my emotions inside of me, this is all new.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is actually the healthiest way I could deal with this, and that time will heal.

So remember, when you’re sad about something, or you lose someone, go ahead and cry. Yell. Scream. Talk about it. Don’t feel foolish. It’s a completely healthy, normal human response to feel and express the emotions that arise from life's situations. The longer they sit inside of you, the worse they’ll become.

Also, tell people when you care about them. All the time. Even if there is someone you’ve lost touch with, but they once impacted your life, tell them. Don’t live with the regret that I’m feeling right now, for never telling my friend what an amazing person he was.

Don’t live in fear. Live in love. 

(If you need someone to open up to about your emotions, contact me! That is what working with a health coach is all about: breaking down barriers and starting out fresh.)

In memory of Jim "Prefontaine" Hauser

Comments

Submitted by Aunt Cindy (not verified) on

Alicia! I just found out on Oct. 16th (the day your grandma passed away) that my mom doesn't have much time to live. My mom has cancer and it's called T-Cell Lymphoma, it's a blood cancer. It's threw her whole body including the brain. I just came back from Wisconsin to see her and will be heading back in a week or 2. Shock, this feels like I got hit by a freight train. It's the hardest thing in life I've ever had to go through. I'm at peace with all of this. I've watched my dad cry because he's losing the love of his life after 60 years of marriage. I can tell you when I brought some of my mom's tops home the first thing I did was smell her. I couldn't get enough of the smell.. This is all normal. I'm going to be losing my mom very soon. I know that my grandmother has been around and I've seen her in my dreams about 4 times now.. I just want peace for my mom.. I can relate to what you are talking about.

Submitted by krystle (not verified) on

I love your blog. All your points are so true. I too regret not telling Jim that he was important to me. I'm sad I couldn't be at his services and say goodbye because I was out of town. I wish so bad I could pick up the phone and call him. I always loved birds but now I find myself enjoying them more because Jim loved them so much. Life is to short and Jim really taught me that. Thank you for your blog post.

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