So you have a dead person

Welcome to the club

I’ve had dead people in my life before. The odd extended relative. A friend of a friend. The child of a friend of a sister of a cousin. Someone you went to school with years ago.

You know the deal.

Some of us have acculuated a lot of dead people by the time we’re adults, some haven’t. Some get to 40 with barely a collection at all.

Some feel like they’re wracking up notches on their belt; their body count is so high.

There really is no rhyme or reason to it; it’s just bad luck or good luck. And you just have to learn to deal with it.

Because if you’re reading this, you’re still standing and alive.

Woo hoo.

How to cope with the recent acquisition of a dead person

I write from a pretend position of authority here; being a recently bereaved person.

A few days ago I wrote about having to climb (fucking) grief mountain, and before that, finding my mother deceased.

2021 is really racing ahead of 2020 in my book. How wonderful.

To state the obvious, it’s really really surreal having a dead person in your life. I mean for starters, one day they were alive and the next day there were dead. Honestly, how on earth are our tiny brains supposed to comprehend that?

A couple of years ago a close girlfriend died a brutal and swift death after being dignosed with stage IV cancer. At the age of 41. With 2 young children. Ummm….

When she died the best way I could wrap my head around it was (and still is) believing she had gone to live on another planet. A planet so far away there would never be any more communication from or to her ever again. And naturally this included not ever being able to see her again.

Kinda like that movie Passengers with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Except without the cool anti-gravity pool and licence to do whatever you want for the rest of your life on a spaceship.

Those facts alone are ridiculously hard to come to terms with, even though we all live knowing these certainties.

Telling myself that my friend had merely gone away — for good — kinda helped, even if it was/is slightly delusional. So if you need to do that then go right ahead.

No judgement here.

Let the recently bereaved be a little crazy

Currently I am sleeping on the couch; a habit I started a few weeks ago after being fed up with the consistent noise from the elderly argumentative noisy Italians next door.

My partner snores so I have up sleeping with him months ago. It works for us.

I’ve gotten used to it now, and some days I can see myself just kinda living in the lounge room pretending everything is totally fine.

I still mother my son and a partner to my fiance. I’m still avoiding work. It feels completely meaningless to me. But every night I stay awake until I can’t force it anymore. I use Youtube, wine, gin and only once (go me!) a sleeping pill.

It’s 10.42pm as I write this and the wine is starting to wear off, dammit. And look at the type of article I am writing. Surely I am a little bit crazy?

Sometimes I go stand outside on the fake grass of this stupid rental property and stare at the stars. I love the stars so much, always have. I find the night sky strangely comforting.

At times during the day if the clouds are the amazing long wispy ones I pretend that they are angels and are my dead person friend in the sky. I haven’t yet made the leap to also seeing them as cloud angels of my mother.

Because your mother dying is something else.

And I found her dead. So I’m allowed to be a little crazy right now. I’m still deciding whether I’ll come back from this crazy.

I’ll discuss it with my therapist tomorrow.

What your dead person will do to your mind

It’s only been just over 2 weeks (not that I’m counting but it is 2 weeks, 1 day and 9 hours and about 12 minutes since I found my mother deceased) since I aquired my latest dead person and I know this: rarely does it leave your mind.

Except when it does.

And then you tell yourself you’re a bad person because you forgot about your dead person for 11 minutes while you were watching a movie. Or when you walked from one room in your house to another. Or in the seconds between alseep and awake…

But that’s OK because you’re dreaming mind doesn’t let you forget. If you’re like me, you’ll start dreaming of the funeral and the wrong flowers being on the casket (classic anxiety dream; if only it were about exams or a job interview not a funeral; far out) or random memories or made up things about your dead person.

It’s a very personal thing whether you want to resort to chemical methods to ensure you actually sleep. I suppose that also depends on your relationship with your dead person when they were alive, and the manner in which they died.

And let’s not even talk about complex or complicated relationships with tonnes of unresolved stuff. Because those are really fun after someone has died.

We all process shock and trauma differently; regardless of how close you were to your dead person or if their death was expected or not.

Just know that you’ll be a fruit loop for a while and it’s perfectly normal and OK to randomly cry or not cry at all. To have time crawl along or zip by in a flash.

You’ll never stop questioning saying to yourself I can’t believe they’re actually dead.

But regardless, I sincerely and deeply welcome you to a club you never wanted to be part of but knew you would one day.

And I welcome your dead person too.

Australian writer, sexologist, & therapist. I sometimes write about sex & pleasure. I sometimes write about weird shit, my interests & being human.

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