Off my chest: Appreciate loved ones now; they will not always be there

Death is cruel. It shakes you, leaving you empty and like a hollow shell.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Late last year, I lost my sister. I was with her 30 minutes before her demise. The days that followed were quite dark; I couldn’t quite understand or clearly express exactly I was feeling.

It’s been months now, but the ache in my heart has not gone away.

Death is cruel. It shakes you, leaving you empty and like a hollow shell. The sad truth is that life goes on. No one waits for you to heal; bills do not wait for you to get over the tragedy.

Waking up and putting a brave face to the world every day, while your loved one is gone and you are only holding on to the memories, is the most heart-breaking, heart-wrenching thing I have experienced.

Even though bereavement is an inevitable part of life—something we will all go through at some point—losing someone you love is still a really painful experience to endure. Be it a close friend, spouse, partner, parent, child, or other relative, the death of a loved one can feel overwhelming. I experienced waves of intense and very difficult emotions, ranging from profound sadness, emptiness, and despair, to shock or numbness.

The loss is never limited to emotional responses either. Grief can also trigger physical reactions, including weight and appetite changes, difficulty sleeping, aches and pains, and an impaired immune system leading to illness and other health problems.

The level of support you have around you, your personality, and your levels of health and well-being can all play a role in how grief impacts you following bereavement.

Everyone reacts differently to death and employs personal coping mechanisms for grief. I have had moments where I just want to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out; and I’ve had sleepless nights going through photo galleries in search of comfort. The truth is, I will never get my sister back; I will not receive late night phone calls from her, or enjoy Christmas carols with her. But I have learned something though—always appreciate people. Spend time with your loved ones, keep your phones away, and leave Instagram and Snapchat for a second. Look around you. Sometimes I feel sad because it seems like we, humans, take so much for granted.

We started dealing with real-life mechanisms while all our focus and attention is on whole another dimension. We eat, drink, hang out, chill, and communicate by staring at our phones. We spend hours doing ridiculous things in front of our cameras. 

We started taking humans around us for granted in favour of people that pop out from our phone screens. We get so busy ‘following’ the lives of strangers, while forgetting that our magical moments are passing as we are becoming strangers with the ones we love, without knowing that these people are not always going to be by our side.

Leave your phone for a second. Admire your food. Take deep breaths. Enjoy your drink. Make eye contact. Smile. Hug. Kiss. Laugh. Make someone happy.

Don't forget the purpose of our existence and what life is all about. The world might be unrecognisable at times, but some things never change such as the need for love, family and kindness.