Sudden Death of a loved one: 10 things you should know and how to cope

Have you ever lost a loved one so suddenly and you begin to wonder why did such happen without a pre warning or if you could have done anything to prevent such loss? Do you feel guilty, helpless or a sense of emptiness? Oftentimes, I hear of deaths, victims of misfired guns, accidents, Boko Haram, war, fire, police brutality, terrorists, bomb blasts, a colleague's sibling, a friend's spouse , Though I feel sympathy for the dead and their relatives,  no one truly understands the pain the loved ones feel except you have had a similar experience.  So if you have ever felt inexplicable grief as I did with my mother's death, here are some things you need to understand and help you cope. 

1. Death is Inevitable: Many times, we have heard this cliche by spiritual and religious leaders, many may not pay attention to it because while living, we humans usually feel immortal, but it is true." It has been appointed to every man to die once" Death is the surest thing in this world for every living thing. No amount of prayers or efforts can change that inevitable fact of life, it can only delay or change the manner of death.  Never waste time to pray about not dying, but ask for a long life filled with impact, a natural death that causes the ones left behind stress, troubles, debts or disaffection. Once a  man is born, he should begin to prepare for death, put his home and business in order, make a will and ensure he lives a life he will be proud of  and  others can testify to. 

2. Prevention of sudden death:  Death can not be avoided, but some deaths can be prevented by proper exercise, good hygiene, healthy living,  healthy food, drinking lots of water  and doing constant medical checkups to rule out life threatening ailments, or detect unnatural occurrences in the body. Blood clots, aneurysms, heart palpitations, low oxygen do not show symptoms and if undetected can cause early deaths. Many normal adults who show no sign of sickness or have any previous medical history can be victims of sudden deaths , some don't even feel the need of medical checkup or scans as outwardly there is no sign of anything wrong with their health,but it is life saving visit a medical practitioner. As humans, we can only try, my mother before her death , had her annual medical checkup, she  tested normal for hypertensive, blood sugar, Bmi  (Body mass index) and body oxygen  tests, so sometimes God knows best as many say.  Whenever you feel headaches, weakness, restlessness,sudden dizziness, confusion, drooping eyelids, they are symptoms that all is not well,visit a hospital straight a way. 

3. Sudden death may be better:  This is especially true if the person died in natural circumstances, like from sleep, the person involved doesn't feel pain or breathlessness, the close ones too  do not suffer much like spending a lot on curing a life threatening disease, sickness , though no amount of money spent can compare to the value of human's life ,if  money can prevent the death, please spend it. 

4. Cause of sudden deaths: There are various causes of sudden death, the primary cause is cerebrovascular accident (CVA, this is brain related) and cardiovascular (this is heart related), the most common  secondary causes include Stroke, Shock, sudden cardiac arrests, Fatal accident, gun shot wounds, aneurysm, pulmonary embolism e.t.c Most  Sudden deaths usually does not give a pre warning, or show any sign of symptoms, they are unexpected and most often victims die within few minutes, many don't even survive the trip to the hospital or if hey do can become dependent on care givers, lose some senses,or total control of part of their body system.

5. Pre-notion of death: Some of the dead usually have a premonition of their death, either revealed to them consciously or unconsciously in their dreams or foretold by others. My mum for instance, few weeks before her death was in a constant habit of calling her children and loved ones several times in a day,  she told her loved ones how she wanted to be buried  and never wanted  to die from any sickness or unnatural death. Many of them are hyperactive during their last hours, they have a sense of urgency in fulfilling some of their heart desires or  those they consider as unfinished business. My mum cooked three times that day, gave out most of her poultry to ministers of God, did Church decoration, led the praises and worship in church, preached to many, prayed, she prepared her last meal, served everyone, watched Joyce Meyer ministry on TV, washed her clothes, showered which was the last act she carried out. Often times, they do these things, but Am sure, they do not realize those are their last actions, but their spirits keeps pushing them to over achieve at their last moments.

6. Symptoms of sudden death:  At the instance of a CVA/ stroke , the first recognizable symptoms include  strong headache (in fact the worst headache, ever experienced), this is due to the delay in flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain or rupture of  brain/heart  artery, paleness, dilation of pupils. dizziness, weakness,  loss of consciousness, the organs begins to shut down, many dying ones  vomit, defecate or urinate , passing out waste may be last act their bodies perform and finally foaming at the mouths and noses. 

7. Final hours: In the final minutes of a dying one, it is possible that hearing is the last sense to go, so try as much as possible to whisper encouraging words, hold hands,say prayers, tell him/her how much you love and appreciate him/her. Most importantly, relive the dying's pain, usually a doctor gives morphine to ease death, prevent pain or gasping for breath if he/she ever gets to the hospital. The medical practitioner tries to make the dying process painless and effortless .
  Mary Oghenerume Adgebaju
Mary Oghenerume Adgebaju (18th Dec 1959- 24th Dec 2015)
8. Never feel guilty : Since the person involved is a loved one, there can be feelings of guilt , one begins to question if there was anything that could be done to save the person's life. Sometimes you wonder was it depression, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or an hidden ailment you were not so observant to notice, so many troubling thoughts run through your mind. This is a normal feeling, but losing a close one should never make you feel guilty, which is the more reason why you should hold on to faith and be strong spiritually, in times of need like this, it is your beliefs that will continue to inspire, motivate and keep you going. When you understand the finality of death, you know there is little that can be done and you dont have much control over what could have or not be. 
9. Emote feelings: Humans are created to express their feelings in different forms ,everyone has various manners to express their own grief or sympathy in a way peculiar to them.While some cry, weep, laugh, go into hysterics or simply walk away, Others go into depression. No matter the age of the deceased, everyone should be free to emote his/her feelings but also consider the feelings of the relatives so there wont be a chain reaction of grieving souls, try to uplift the spirits of those around you, encourage them not too weep too much , so as not to increase tension, heighten sad feelings or cause sickness for them.  The visitors and sympathizers should do everything in moderation and not cry more than the bereaved. Especially if the deceased died in Christ, it is a moment of celebration, you should not grieve as though you have forever lost the dead, he/she is only resting in the lord to meet at at a latter time at the rapturing of the saints.  

10. Give a befitting burial: This is the final rites that can be done for the dead, in African cultures, a burial is more than digging a grave, it is a celebration of life and giving a befitting send off for the dead. For young ones whose parents are still alive and not too old, the burial may just involve few family friends and done within few hours or days. But for mature adults who have grownup children, it is recognized that someone buried by his or her children has died a good death. You can assist with giving money, food or resources  to aid the deceased's family during after the burial.