How to cope with death: Our Experience

How to cope with death
Sycks Family

How to cope with death: The experience

How to cope with death: Have you ever had a moment in life where something ugly, something sinister, maybe even something downright painful happened to you?

It could be the loss of a job, a bad break up, or perhaps that elephant in the room that most do not prefer to discuss….how to cope with death.

Somewhere throughout life we eventually experience the death of a loved one and the grief and loss that comes with it.

It stings! It is like you ate something bad that you can never digest and also never get back up to get rid of it. You’re kind of just seemingly stuck with the feeling in your gut.

I unfortunately experienced mine at the age of 36 with the loss of my son.

IMMINENT Grief and loss

How to Cope with Death: Skyler and Dad
How to cope with death: Skyler and Dad

Now, I will say that I had endured my fair or unfair share of grief long before August 18th, 2012. However, as much as I had worked on managing my grief throughout the years nothing would prepare me in full for that day to come.

In December of 2011 my son Skyler Sycks was a happy normal little boy. Then, Skyler began showing what appeared to be flu like symptoms.

With obvious concern his Mother and I took him to the emergency room in our local town to see if we could help get him on the healthy track.

After we arrived, there was much confusion shared amongst the hospital staff. They recommended that we take him to the closest children’s hospital for precautionary reasons.

one very long night

How to cope with death: Skyler Sycks
Skyler Sycks

We arrived at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio that evening. After many hours of testing and confusion we heard what at the time we thought was the worst news.

The doctors had told us that Skyler had a brain tumor. Now, how as a parent do you prepare yourself for that kind of news?

To make the situation worse we were informed only 2 days later that the tumor was cancerous, inoperable, and that he had a 3% chance to live to adulthood.

This news and the realism of it was almost to much to fathom. The thoughts of grief and loss began to consume my family and I.

What would we do, and could we figure out how to cope with the loss of a loved one?

The grief and loss

Jade, Skyler and Mindy
Flashes of Hope pictures: Jade, Skyler and Mindy

In this picture above we were taking our final pictures with Skyler three days before his death. This was one of my wife Mindy and my daughter Jade showing him their love.

Skyler was a warrior though. He inspired thousands of people from around the world. He never complained, cried about his situation, nor showed any fear to his final breath.

So, what is a Dad to do now? Well, I could have packed it in at that point. It would have been easy to just go on medications to cover my sorrows. I also could have abused alcohol, ignored my wife and daughter, and largely just became stuck and unresourceful. However, I’ve always been one to go against the grain.

Almost immediately after Skyler’s death I thought about him never making excuses, serving others and putting perfectly healthy and able people ahead of himself.

Furthermore, Skyler talked to people with sage council and helped people through their grief over his illness and imminent death. In addition, this kid was only 12!

Getting through the grief and loss

Skyler praying for me to win a band competition
Skyler praying for me to win a band competition

I took a life example from this picture above. Skyler whom was a mere 6 weeks from his death was praying for me to win a band competition!

Winning a band competition seemed so trivial compared to his situation that I at first couldn’t understand why he did this. He didn’t have to do this, but he did! Skyer was always putting others before him and taking the resourceful productive route. It all began to make sense. So, that’s what I did too!

No matter what grief you face or how much you face I can tell you that life is still a great thing! In fact, jobs are had and lost, relationships build and crumble, money comes and goes, it is all opportunity mixed with difficulty!

Unfortunately, people leave your life from time to time. Whether it be by choice or by death, you are still alive and have a purpose and have great things to do! So, how will you handle it?

It is ok to cry and grieve with your feelings. However, you must think, act, and honor with your logic.

Now, I am here to tell you that you can create skills that will help you to have a happy and healthy productive life through managing your grief.

Creating these grief and loss skills are never easy. I will tell you that it can be done! When you learn to resourcefully manage your grief in a productive way, you can then handle hard things and have a great quality of life!

If you would like to learn more about how to cope with the loss of a loved one and managing your grief please click here for more information!

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