Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dealing with people coping with a death

Over the weekend a student of my campus was killed in a car accident. He was a first yr med student so I didn't know him personally, but some people I know were friends with him including one of my roomates. She knew him from undergrad and now in med school they study and sit with the same group.

I've known people that died tragically but with the exception of my great grandmother I was never close to anyone who had a tragic death so I really don't know exactly how it feels. I'm trying to understand and do my best to ease the situation with her as her roomate. She's the type of person that's usually in her own world and spends friday through monday at home as well as every other chance she gets. She's more closed off so it's not as easy to reach out to her. In fact, she usually eats in her room too and whenever she has guests over they all stay in her room.

Which is why I surprised when Monday night she came downstairs and plopped down on the sofa next to me and wanted to watch a movie. She expressed that she wanted to to get her mind off things. It also seemed that she just really didn't want to be alone. I let her talk about what's on her mind and tried to understand as best as I can how she felt at the moment. She said she's usually fine but will have sudden moments where it'll just "hit" her. In her moment of vulnerability my heart went out to her and I just really wanted to help make things easier for her.

We watched Mamma Mia and although I felt like going to my room to sleep I thought I'd sit with her until she was ready to go to bed. So we ended up watching hours of Jon and Kate Plus 8 reruns and some news. The next evening I got worried when it was nighttime and she hadn't come home yet. It's unlike her to be out late on a weekday but I wanted to give her her own space so I resisted texting her until really late.

Today her fiance who also knew the guy came by with a whole bunch of balloons and treats to put in her room. When she came home she was more talkative and expressive than the day before. I'm sure her fiance being here put her more at ease, but she was still grieving and remembering.

I'm sure she'll always remember her friend but I wonder how long it would be before things are back to "normal" in her world, before it "hits" her at random moments and she described....and I wonder when it's appropriate for me to stop being extra considerate and motherly without seeming insensitive.


His Sweetheart said...

Give her 3 weaks and she will be back to normal, at least when she is with you!!

He won't be ever forgotten but her wounds will heal.

You're doing a great job being next to her. She won't ever forget it trust me!

His Sweetheart said...


Goofy Girl said...

You're a sweetheart for looking out for her and taking good care of her as she needs it. I would kind of take it as it comes because everyone grieves differently. But don't do too much where you are compromising yourself and your boundaries.

Hareega said...

People react to death in very different ways, sometimes really strange ways. I learned that i should never criticize anyone for how they react

Hamza said...

*ignores comments*

do u recommend Mamma Mia as a movie to watch? :D