Coping with Accidents &
Sudden Illness Death

Grief and trauma...

Losing a loved one suddenly, to trauma, an accident or a sudden deadly illness like a heart attack or stroke, can be devastating. The suddenness of the tragedy can overwhelm you, put you into "shock".

You may have a sense of unreality about everything that can last for quite a while. You may feel numb and walk around in a daze upon receiving the bad news.

The reason sudden death losses are usually so hard to grieve is that they drum up some very disturbing and complicated emotions. Among them are:

  • Guilt
  • Blame
  • Regret
  • Rage


Grief and trauma.. Guilt

As the survivor, you may have strong feelings of guilt; the "if onlys". "If only I hadn't let her go to the party"; "if only I hadn't gone to answer the phone", "if only I had been more strict about his tail-gating". "If only, if only, if only"...

The way out of this sad trap is to do a reality check on yourself. Did you really CAUSE the accident? Maybe if you had done something differently, it may have altered the course of history, and the accident might not have occurred. But the key question is... are you really responsible for the death, or was it a random accident?

Note: If you truly did cause the death, you almost surely will need professional counseling to unravel your feelings and discharge your crushing load of guilt.


Grief and trauma.. Blame

It is human nature in cases of sudden death to attempt to lay blame. It may even be a way of expressing guilt, even if unfounded; blame others for the death to assuage your own feelings of guilt. It can help you to regain control and make sense of an otherwise senseless tragedy.

Unfortunately, if you lay blame on a relative for what happened, it can destroy your marriage or family. You may all need counseling in serious cases like this to help head off disaster.

Hold your tongue, no matter what!


Grief and trauma.. Regret

When a loved one is taken from you abruptly, you may experience searing regret over unfinished business. You may regret things left unsaid, forgiveness not given or things you never got around to doing with your loved one.

You may heartily regret not saying goodbye or "I love you" the last time you saw her. If your regrets do not eventually resolve, you may require counseling sessions in order to help you forgive yourself and find some way to closure.


Grief and trauma.. Rage

Anger is common in any bereavement. A sense of vulnerability and helplessness may cause you to be very angry, as a defense mechanism. You may rant and rave and scream at God or the hospital staff. It's okay to ventilate your rage in a non-violent manner. They'll get over it.

Treatment For Survivors Of
Sudden Death Incidents

The sudden, unexpected death of a dear one can be overwhelming and devastating. In most cases, the shock and numbness wears off and the usual grief process ensues.

Have you ever heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? This is when a traumatic life event lingers in the psyche and causes long-term distress and other life-altering symptoms. If you have experienced a sudden death incident, you may well be suffering from this disorder.

In the case of traumatic death, it may help to initially have some short-term crisis intervention or trauma counseling by a professional experienced in grief intervention, to help head off PTSD.

Return from Grief and Trauma to "Your Pain"


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