13 Frequently Asked Questions After The Death Of A Loved One

Losing a loved one raises many questions that are often difficult to answer. We’re going to take a look at some of these today.
13 frequently asked questions after the death of a loved one

The death of a loved one causes great distress, sadness and lethargy for those affected. This loss usually affects those who remain behind for their entire life.

Many questions arise that are often difficult to answer. In this case, it is important to talk to others and not withdraw. You have to take your time and let family and friends accompany you: a quiet look, a touch or simply the presence of someone close to you are often more valuable than words.

13 frequently asked questions after the death of a loved one

13 questions about the death of a loved one

Although everyone experiences the death of a loved one differently, there are some questions that arise frequently during the grief phase. We cannot ignore this reality because it leads to an emotional state of great discomfort and insecurity. We then look at some of the most common questions (Martínez González, 2010).

1. After the death of a loved one, will I forget their voice, smile and face?

When a loved one dies, we do everything we can to maintain their presence in everyday life. We believe it would be treason if we didn’t remember her laugh, her look, her face and her walk. Over time, however, the memory weakens and doubts arise. We wonder if we will forget about the person we love altogether.

In this situation, you need to know that while you cannot touch or hear her, she will always be in your heart. The affection and the lived moments remain and nothing and nobody will be able to take them away from you, not even the time.

2. Am I going crazy? Will I take it

Losing a loved one causes shock, a blockage that is extremely difficult and alienating. So many emotions together make you feel like you are losing control. It is usually a temporary phase in order to be able to process what has happened. It is like a defense mechanism that is important to keep your inner strength focused on getting a grip on life again.

After the death of a loved one, will I forget his voice, his smile, his face?

3. How long does the grief phase last after the death of a loved one?

The answer to this question is very variable as the time depends on the circumstances, personality, relationship, cause of loss, etc. The first Christmas without the loved one, the first birthdays, the first vacation …

The sadness of not being able to share events, achievements and feelings with this person makes us relive the tragedy over and over again. However, this time of internal processing is not passive. It helps to accept death and learn to live with it.

4. Will I be the same as before?

Obviously, the death of a loved one marks us, which inevitably changes us. We lose parts of ourselves, parts that belong to that person. We mature in some aspects, we re-establish our value system, we value other things, we think differently. All of this is a learning process that often leads to more engagement in life.

5. Why did this happen to me? Why is this person no longer there? Why right now?

We ask ourselves such questions in a desperate attempt to understand the incomprehensible and unfair loss. These have the function of helping us to review, analyze and understand reality in a rational way, as we feel the need to control and direct the situation in order to combat anxiety.

The death of a loved one is always premature and undesirable. In the absence of answers, we will end up asking ourselves a “why” that will be much more adaptable to restructure our experience and grief.

Girl, think about the death of a loved one

6. Am I sick?

No. Fear and painful feelings about losing a loved one is not an illness, but a natural process that we must devote ourselves to. Everyone needs time to relax and restore mental equilibrium.

However, if the grief continues for more than a year, it is pathological. Symptoms are that the affected person can no longer lead a normal life. She is afraid, her performance is poor, etc. In this case, professional help is needed to overcome the grief phase. 

7. Do I need psychological help after the death of a loved one?

It is healthy to feel uncomfortable during the time of grief. In the first few moments, the mourner has to express his feelings, remember the absent person and accept the new situation. Some people need professional help to understand and manage this situation.

Whether or not therapy is needed depends on the circumstances and the person. If help is needed, the intervention can be summarized in five points (Meza, 2008):

  1. Improve the quality of life of the affected person.
  2. Reduce social isolation.
  3. Improve self-esteem.
  4. Reduce stress.
  5. Improve mental health (disease prevention).

8. What do I do with their belongings after a loved one dies?

The reactions are often extreme. Some people remove everything under the idea that it will ease the pain of memory, while others leave everything as it was before the loved one died. If this shows that the person concerned cannot accept the loss, they need help.

It is important not to fall into extremes. However, there are things that have sentimental value and are nice memories of the loved one.

9. Does time heal everything?

Time does not heal everything, but it certainly gives us perspective. By bringing experiences and time on the way, we create distance between the painful event and the present. This leads to the fact that we have to choose one or the other attitude to life: we can have a negative attitude or we can resolve to overcome the situation. Time helps to think about it.

What to do after a loved one dies

10. When does the mourning phase end?

The team led by Érika Meza (2008) affirmed that the grief phase is over when the person concerned can speak about the deceased without pain. At the same time, she is then able to focus her emotions on life and other people again. When she invests her energy in relationships, in herself, in her work projects and feeling better, she has illusions in life again. She can then remember back with affection and nostalgia, but no longer feels such deep and debilitating pain because she has accepted the situation.

11. How can I deal with my emotions and feelings?

After the storm of emotions and sensations that overwhelms you after the death of a loved one, you are faced with the question of utility. Every sensation has an intimate meaning that you must manipulate, explore, and decipher in order to overcome grief. It can be helpful to keep a journal, listen to music, or do some other activity that you enjoy doing.

You will be grateful to the deceased for the time with them, remember them lovingly and always carry them with you. The essence of this person will always be with you.

12. What are the signs of grief?

Many feelings arise after the death of a loved one: sadness, fear, anger, guilt, fatigue, helplessness and loneliness. Some are ashamed, others are relieved.

There are also certain physical sensations that are commonly experienced : tightness in the chest or throat, pain in the heart area, palpitations, dizziness, nausea, tremors, etc.

Sometimes mourners sleep poorly or sleep too much. The same applies to their eating habits: they eat too little, too much, or they eat inappropriately. They may have unusual dreams or nightmares, be distracted, socially withdrawn, or be restless and hyperactive. All of these feelings and behaviors are normal during grief.

13. Where can I find hope after the death of a loved one?

Often people report that they become stronger through their loss are. They become more mature, understand others better, are more self-confident. Others learn new lessons about the meaning of life and the meaning of love. These are often difficult lessons that we would rather not learn. But they are gateways to a better future.


Cover picture by Mayra Arvizo

Martínez González, RM (2010). Cicatrices en el corazón tras una pérdida significativa.  Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer.

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