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Question
Posted by: Sunshine | 2012/10/04

Death in the family - difficulty coping.

Hallo Cybershrink

I hope you are well.

My uncle (65) was one of the 8 South Africans killed in the suicide bomb attack in Kabul on the 18th of September 2012. Up to today, we still have had no word on when the Afghanistan government will release their remains.

My uncle was my godfather, but apart from that he was also like a father to me. He filled the gap when my parents got divorced when I was still very young. We had awesome times together.

His memorial service was yesterday - and I gave a eulogy in his honor. It was hard, but I managed to pull it off.

So here''s the deal: It has been 17 days (and counting) since his death, and I''m not coping - at all. First off, I''m extremely frustrated by the fact that his remains are still in Kabul.

Secondly, I''m not sure WHAT we are getting back - bits and pieces of him? The Forensic police came and collected DNA samples from my nephew for testing (that gave us an indication that his body may not be intact).

Thirdly ... there are images on the internet (and new ones keep on being published) that are extremely graphic. Yet, I find myself looking at them and inspecting them to see if I can identify my uncle (weird ... but in a way comforting?).

Lastly - we had his memorial yesterday. Draining to say the least. Now we embark on the waiting game ... every day wondering if THIS will be the day when his remains are repatriated back to South Africa. And then again ... the burial.

I''m an emotional wreck. We as a family are very close-knit, and we have supported each other tremendously well.

I''m going out of my mind thinking of him being in a foreign country, foreign morgue, foreign people overseeing his remains.

I know you have to go through the stages of grieving ... but this feels SO unreal.

Sunshine.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

So sorry to hear of this family tragedy. Death of a loved one is hard enough to deal with under the best of circumstances, and is more diffficult when the death was sudden, unpleasant, public, and newsworthy.
Congratulations on doing so well in providing the eulogy - its really within those good memories of a person that they continue to live and influence our lives.
But these are VERY early days, even after a peaceful, expected and timely death, to be expecting to be over it - grief is really hard work, and it MUST take time, and that is months ( for the worst of it ) and years further.
Its a matter of choice as to whether one chooses to scan the internet for pictures. Some might find the images comforting, many of us would find them disturbing. But its not compulsory to view them.
I wish the authorities, Afghan and South African, dealing with tragedies like these, would recognize more carefully the needs of the survivors, and also that uncertainty can be worse than anything.
In a situation like this where a number of people died violently together and the remains were probably shattered and mixed, it may take time for the authorities to properly identify what remains of each person, and to make sure that you receive back, for burial, as much as posible of what can be identified as your uncle's remains. That may indeed be an ugly thought, but probably better than other altgernatives.
Consider seeing a grief counsellor ( for instance some are associated with Hospice programs ) and get such help for working through what will be a long grief, but will enable you to remember a good man with joy and gratitude for all that he was, and, in your memories, still is.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012/10/04

My condolences Sunshine... this must be very hard to do. Under the circumstances and after only 17 days I think it''s entirely normal to still be very upset. Keep supporting each other, and try to stay away from the internet. It''s such a pity that human misery is plastered all over cyberspace almost as " entertainment" . Focus on your uncle''s life, think of him as someone who LIVED rather than someone who died under very distressing circumstances. His earthly remains are just that, remains, and while it is frustrating and upsetting not to get it back, it is no longer " him"  in any real sense.

(((HUGS))), I hope you find peace.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/10/04

So sorry to hear of this family tragedy. Death of a loved one is hard enough to deal with under the best of circumstances, and is more diffficult when the death was sudden, unpleasant, public, and newsworthy.
Congratulations on doing so well in providing the eulogy - its really within those good memories of a person that they continue to live and influence our lives.
But these are VERY early days, even after a peaceful, expected and timely death, to be expecting to be over it - grief is really hard work, and it MUST take time, and that is months ( for the worst of it ) and years further.
Its a matter of choice as to whether one chooses to scan the internet for pictures. Some might find the images comforting, many of us would find them disturbing. But its not compulsory to view them.
I wish the authorities, Afghan and South African, dealing with tragedies like these, would recognize more carefully the needs of the survivors, and also that uncertainty can be worse than anything.
In a situation like this where a number of people died violently together and the remains were probably shattered and mixed, it may take time for the authorities to properly identify what remains of each person, and to make sure that you receive back, for burial, as much as posible of what can be identified as your uncle's remains. That may indeed be an ugly thought, but probably better than other altgernatives.
Consider seeing a grief counsellor ( for instance some are associated with Hospice programs ) and get such help for working through what will be a long grief, but will enable you to remember a good man with joy and gratitude for all that he was, and, in your memories, still is.

Reply to cybershrink

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