My Brother Died In That Plane Crash: How I Coped After
Femmelounge join millions of Nigerians to mourn the loss of the passengers and residents who died in the plane crash yesterday afternoon.
Below in a personal account of someone who lost a family member in the 2005 Sosoliso plane crash. Hopefully, this will help encourage some heavy hearts.
My brother was on the Sosoliso plane that crashed at Port-Harcourt International Airport on the 10th of December 2005. He was only 13.
That Christmas was one Christmas I will never forget.
My brother was a star. A genius. He excelled in everything; academics, sports, socials, everything. Just like that his life was cut short, because of a failed system.
The days that followed were really hard. It felt so unreal, but one thing that was real was the pain. After the shock, disbelief and anger had worn off; we were left with the pain and sheer hopelessness of it all.
Slowly and surely, we rebuilt our lives, we worked through the pain and took everything one day at a time. I had to be strong for my parents, especially my mum and also for my siblings. It wasn’t easy, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and by the Grace of God, we are still standing and the worst is over.
Grief is defined as a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something you have formed a strong bond with. It can also be defined as, keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
Every day we read and hear about death, but it never seems real until it happens close to us. Death is the most unwelcome and unwanted visitor in the world, it comes in and snatches someone away, with no reason, no apologies and no explanations and just like that, they are gone.
Death leaves in its wake emotions like shock, disbelief, anger and terrible pain. I know this because I’ve been through it before.
No one prays for death, but it happens anyway.
Sometimes it happens suddenly, with no warning and sometimes it is expected (as in the case of the elderly or the terminally ill) and the loved ones of the deceased can prepare for the loss. This doesn’t mean that in latter case, the pain is less intense, but sometimes the preparation helps.
No matter the circumstance or situation, you have to keep on living.
So, how do you cope? How do you move on and put your life back together?
Based on my own experience, here are a few steps that helped my healing process:
- ACCEPTING AND LETTING GO: This is perhaps, the hardest part. Coming to terms with their death is often very difficult, because we wish to hold on and hope that somehow, somewhere they are still alive. But holding on only prolongs the grief. You have to accept and believe that they are gone, so that you can rebuild your life. This also means letting go of all the negative emotions; guilt, anger, resentment etc. The death of a loved one brings along a lot of guilt, it’s important to forgive yourself and realise that there was nothing you could have done to prevent it.
- HAVE A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM: It’s important to surround yourself with people. Not just anybody, but people who are there for you. People that pray for and with you. People that weep with you and are also strong for you. Those that encourage you to move on and take it all one step at a time. Stay away from insensitive people that make ignorant or hurtful remarks. You might want to be alone all the time and sometimes people get so wrapped up in their grief that they push everyone away, but it’s not the best. Increased solitude increases your chances of slipping deeper into depression.Allow yourself to be with people that cheer you up and take your mind off everything.
- TALK ABOUT IT: Remember you are not alone. Talk to someone. God, a friend or if you don’t feel comfortable pouring your heart out to someone who knows you, try talking with a grief counsellor or someone from your church or elsewhere, someone you are comfortable with.
- BUILD YOUR FAITH: After the death of my brother, the two things that helped the most were prayers and the Word of God. Reading the Bible really helped and scriptures like John 11:25 were like a balm to my wounded soul. The Word of God heals, restores, uplifts and gives us hope. It also helps you make sense of the tragedy.Also reading Christian books on death, life after death etc, encouraged me.
- CELEBRATE THEIR LIFE: Celebrate everything about their life, who they were, what they stood for, and their dreams. Everything.
Finally, there is no formula for coping with loss. Everybody is different and we all react differently, the important thing is getting your life back together and moving on.
Writer: Omada Okpe