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Question
Posted by: NickPlay | 2006/04/12

Another Death

This morning my girlfriend and i awoke to the horrible news that her brother was killed in the early hours in a car accident. Understandebly she is shocked, especially seeing as he was her only sibling and in the absolute prime of his life. We stay on the coast, while he lived in Jhb, so now there's the hassle of flights, funerals, wills etc...a process that is going to be extremely difficult for her and her folks.

I know there's no manual for these situations, but what is the best course of action from my part? I love her with all my heart and can't bare to see her in such pain, while being absolutely helpless to ease it. I'm also grieving as being an only child myself, I really regarded him as a brother, despite the relatively short time we knew eachother. I find myself having to retreat to go and cry my eyes out...I don't want to be like that in front of her as I think she'll crumble more...it's silly I know, but I really want to appear as stable as possible in front of her.

We've also just planned an overseas trip for mid-May, but now she's doubting whether we should go. My personal opinion is that it would be good to get away, but then again I'm no expert.

I'd really appreciate any advice any of you may have on my situation.

Thanks!
D

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Nicplay,
So sorry to hear of yet another tragedy. Your local Hospice ( and I seem to remember some excellent ones on the coast, some of which I taught at ) may be able to help loan a counsellor with grief experience, and might be able to lend some useful self-help books o grief which could help to guide you as to how to be most useful to her.
Being basically supportive, allowing her to talk about him and her grief WHEN she wants to, and not to talk about it when she doesn't, is actually very useful. Its hard to generalize about whether the overseas trip in May would be a good idea--- it could well be a bit too soon for her ( let alone you ) to be able to really enjoy it. Is it possible to postpone it, without losing money and the possibilities of whatever you two were to do over there ?
Aj's comments seem sound

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Our users say:
Posted by: ....... | 2006/04/13

Was he killed in tha accident on the airport highway by the bridge?

Reply to .......
Posted by: AJ | 2006/04/12

NP, sorry to hear of your girlfriend's loss. The loss of someone close is never easy. Each person can grieve differently. The length of time it takes to grieve/mourn is also different. For some it can takes years, others months, and some a lifetime. For you as her boyfriend, just being there for her, being her soft place where she can feel comfortable, supporting her, listening to her, generally comforting her is the best you can do. If you do not feel so strong at times, its ok to tell her how you feel and that you are still there for her. Its best to talk about it, don't know the age of her brother, but it sounds as if he was young. As for the funeral arrangements, it keeps the family busy arranging it all, but the most difficult is after the funeral, after all the friends, family etc. that is the loneliest, most difficult of all. She might be having so many mixed emotions right now and will not be in a position to make major decisions. Just bear with he,runderstand its not permanent. About that trip, it might be the last thing she feels like doing right now, its a very personal decision, you can postpone the trip or on the other hand go and focus on celebrating the positives, ie... his life, what it was all about, how he enjoyed life etc and how blessed they were all to have had the time with him as a sibling, family, friend etc. Grief is a process one goes through, it doesn't necessarily have to follow any particular order but eventually time does heal the pain, it gets better and better. Right now it almost feels like a bad dream. Go well and best of wishes. Give her lots of love and hugs.

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