Trying to offer the right words of condolence and support following the death of a friend or loved one is always a difficult task. But attempting to provide comfort to one grieving a loss under a special circumstance is exponentially more challenging. One should first and foremost be reminded of the stages of grief that have been discussed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and others.  In addition, there are unique emotions that are involved with a death under special circumstances.

Whether from a tragic automobile accident or a homicide, a massive heart attack or a suicide, or the passing after a long-term illness, death under special conditions or circumstances is especially traumatic. The loved ones left behind wrestle almost obsessively with thoughts and feelings which bounce between anger and disbelief. They look for comfort and support from others to help them reconcile with their loss.

While each loss is unique, a loss due to special circumstances often stirs similar responses from those who grieve. In this section, several special situations will be looked at in depth. Here are some general ways that may help you cope.

Rest plays a vital role in healing. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time for sleep. Don’t over exert yourself. Do not try to do everything immediately. Take care of the urgent and necessary items. Let other things be put on hold for a time. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

Be willing to share your feelings. Verbalizing things to trusted friends or family will help you process. Share the myriad of thoughts and ideas that you may be having. Describe important and happy times that you shared with your loved one.

Rely on others. When the time seems right, get out of the house to visit friends. Try to get exercise – even a walk outside in nature. Return to a regular routine of shopping or social gatherings.