Published in


How The Death of a Relative Changed Me

My experience with death could help you a lot

Photo by vyasphoto on Shutterstock

At the end of last August, I got a call telling me that my uncle had passed away.

I remember recently describing it that it felt like a bad joke. But it wasn’t a joke. It was real and as true as something could be.

Everyone was devastated. My uncle who passed away was more like everyone’s best friend. To me especially he was everything.

We were very close.

But the problem with death is how unexpected it is. It can happen anytime.

And I remember thinking how I never got to say goodbye.

He passed away 14 days after I left my home country. My cousins who I am close with also left a few days after me. They talked to him before they left. I couldn’t.

But the thing is there is not much that would have been said between us. None of us would expect that to be the last moment either of us could stand face to face and share a hug and a laugh or two.

We would have treated it like any other moment.

I recently familiarised myself with someone’s death when my grandfather passed two years ago.

That was the first real experience.

Before that, it didn’t seem real. Yes, people close to me have died before but that was when I was much younger.

At that point, you don’t understand half the things going around making it easier to bear.

How does the death of a loved one change you?

For me, it set in in stages.

I still think I haven’t dissolved it in totally. Realisation sets in some days, some days I forget it.

Recently, I recalled what had just happened 6 months ago.

I thought about that damned call. Overthinking did what it does and in moments I saw myself throwing petrol on the fire.

I thought about how any call could tell me something disastrous was happening or had happened.

My brother was asleep for a while and I started panicking. It was a mess.

We all have panicked before, I have too. But in those cases, it was about things I could control.

I came to a rational solution. That solution was in my control.

In this case, however, what could I do?

Talking about this like this, in front of God knows how many people is scary, but it is a risk I am willing to take.

Maybe, it reaches someone going through it in such a way that it helps them.

I made it out of that hole I had thrown myself in through mad overthinking.

The way I did that was, I reminded myself that the whole Universe is not undertaking a mission to make my life hell. At least I can hope.

I still have those feelings as I am sure many people do. It must be normal, right?

Do you open up to people?

I always thought I was someone very emotionally stable and strong. The truth is that is how I am in public.

When I am alone with myself, I don’t have to be.

I feel like there are so many people like this. For me at least, I don’t like opening up.

Writing this is hard, to say the least. The truth is I am typing fast because if I stop thinking about what to say, I might decide against posting it.

I won’t go out and say it is good to open up to people. I won’t because I don’t believe that.

The truth is, I have never opened up to anyone. NEVER.

I am 20 years old and I have good relationships with people around me, but I have never opened up to anyone.

I don’t like making myself feel vulnerable.

Finding people who care is a genuine rarity. People closest to you, who you would think care, don’t.

In the end, I guess you have to learn to live with yourself.

I don’t believe life is suffering. I believe it is a continuous learning experience. Yes, I believe it is a test, but not suffering.

My idea on life is that it forces you to spit out your story one way or another. That is a good thing because then it allows you to help other people.

Maybe that is what life is supposed to be — a mission to help others.

How I deal with death

The idea of death is not one that can just creep up to people. It is experienced. You can’t just simply put it in words.

Death has made me want to work on myself more.

You have to work on yourself, after all, you are the only person who is going to be with you the whole time you are alive.

If you can’t sit alone with yourself, you need to learn to do that. You have to learn to be calm and at peace with yourself. That is the first thing I began working at.

The next thing is very very important.

Spend time with people you love, tell them you care about them and how much they mean to you. I suck at this.

If I text someone something emotional right now, I am pretty sure they will call me to see if I am ill or something.

I later realised how important it is.

I realised it because immediately after the reality of my uncle’s death somewhat dawned on me, I opened up our chats.

I screenshotted certain messages. They are always a click away.

I saved simple messages on my phone, pictures of us together and whatnot.

So make sure you have them in abundance because death is inevitable. At least when someone close to you passes, you have things to look back on rather them mental memories at most.

Another thing I am bad at is spending time with people who mean the most. More often than not, we are all taking them for granted.

I hope I don’t anymore and the people who read this don’t either.

Have deep relationships, take an interest in other people’s lives. At any point, anyone could be going through hard moments hiding them behind a smile. I did this, and so many of my relatives did too.

It always feels cool to have hundreds of friends. It is the coolest thing in the world. Growing up for me was realising it isn’t cool. It is better to have a tightly-knit network than one comprised of hundreds and hundreds of people who frankly, don’t give a damn about the other one.

It is shallow and meaningless and no one profits from it. It feels like a way to get social appreciation. I have been a role model of that for the longest time.

I have decided to take a step back from it and I would recommend others do too.

The purpose of this article

I recently saw a self-improvement Youtube channel sharing everything going on in his life. He said that many people had benefited from it as they could relate.

The purpose of this article is along the same lines.

If this finds anyone going through some trauma of any kind, I hope it helps them in any way it can.

I don’t like to put such articles online. I have written over 90 articles in the last 4 months, this is the most authentic out of all of them.

I hope to continue making an effort to help others in any way I can. Consider this the first of many efforts in the future.

If you have come this far, I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

If you enjoyed reading this, consider following and subscribing by email. That way you will get an email every time I publish.

Subscribe to Medium to get access to thousands of amazing articles from all writers on the platform here!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rafay Hiraj

Rafay Hiraj

I write about life and happiness. Writing for me is a way to make sense of everything.