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How to cope with the sudden death of a loved one

If you are one of many people in Alabama who received an unexpected phone call one day informing you that your loved one was involved in a serious car accident, you understand how shocking, confusing and devastating such moments can be. You may recall exactly what you were doing when your telephone rang but not much after you hung up the phone. In fact, major blocks of time may be missing from your memory regarding the hours (even days) following news of your loved one's death.

Even in situations where a family member suffers from terminal illness and you know death is imminent, grieving the loss when it comes is never easy. Sorrow is often intensified when the person who dies was healthy health one minute and gone the next. When you later learn the death was preventable were it not for another person's negligence, you may experience feelings of anger mixed with grief.

You might go through various stages of mourning

No one can say or do anything to remove your suffering and you may have good days and bad days in the weeks and months that follow your loved one's death. There are support networks available that can help you through the mourning process. The list below provides information so you know what types of emotions and issues to expect:

  • It is not uncommon for people struck by the trauma of learning that a family member has suffered a premature death to experience symptoms of shock. This might include tremors, uncontrolled shrieking or crying, increased heart rate, severe headache, upset stomach or inability to speak.
  • You may also feel utterly exhausted for many days as you come to terms with the reality of your situation. This exhaustion may present itself in different ways, such as sleeping for entire days or being unable to sleep at all.
  • Although you were not with your loved one at the time of the accident (or even if you were) his or her death is not your fault. Many people go through stages of grief where they blame themselves or feel as though they should have been able to do something to prevent the tragedy.
  • You may also experience nightmares or have troubling thoughts during waking hours as well. In either case, if you feel you are having difficulty coping, you can reach out for help.

A licensed counselor is someone who may be able to assist you as you learn to go on in life without your loved one. You might also consider joining a support group in your area comprised of other people who have gone through similar experiences as it often helps to talk to others who can relate to your suffering.

Other support

At some point, you may wish to speak to an attorney who can help you pursue justice on behalf of your deceased loved one. Others in Alabama have been able to obtain restitution for wrongful death following car accidents caused by negligent drivers.

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