Five Things That Helped Me Overcome the Death of a Loved One

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This past weekend marked five years since my father passed away. Although we knew it was coming and we had been preparing for it for days, weeks, months, even years, the heartbreak was and still is there. In preparing to write this post, I reflected on the week of my father’s passing and things I have done since to keep moving forward and remember him. I came up with five things that helped me, and may help others, overcome the death of a loved one.

Accept Help

The Sunday before my father’s funeral and my wedding, I remember waiting at church for nearly an hour as my mom talked to the ward Relief Society president and other friends who were wanting help in some way. There were many things, small things, that needed to be done, and she accepted all the help offered. There is no way everything could have been done without the kindness of all who helped. I felt the deepest sense of community and love during this time.

Maintain Cherished Relationships

I loved hearing my dad tell stories of fun times with his childhood friends, mission companions, and college classmates. His bellowing laugh was infectious, and his stories have practically become legend in our house. I love the relationships he valued with his friends and family, and I try to maintain them.

Additionally, the relationships that I hold close were strengthened during the difficult time around my father’s passing. I still remember the feeling I had seeing some of my closest friends come through the viewing line, the warmth of the hugs I received from them, and the kind encouraging words.

Record Memories

As mentioned above, many of my father’s stories are legendary in my mind. I can recount many from memory with the same detail that he told them with. It has been a wonderful thing for me to record these stories and others from friends and family.

Enjoy the Celebration

All deaths are full of sorrow and heartbreak, but we can choose to reflect on the blessings and accomplishments of the deceased love one’s life. I loved my father’s funeral. I’m sure many people in attendance felt it was too long and drawn out, but I was hoping it would never end. Every year, I listen to the audio of the event and laugh until I cry and then cry some more. It touched on every facet of his life and was a true celebration of it.

Reflection on the Plan of Salvation

There comes a time when everyone’s testimony is tested. When you have to take a deep look and decide if you really believe what you say you believe. I always knew I believed in the plan of salvation and eternal life together as a family after this life, but when I had to face that moment in the eye, I knew it was all true. I now look forward to the day of resurrection when I can see my dad again in a healthy and perfected body, when I will live with those I love eternally.

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Whitney studied Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism at BYU. She also served as Miss Utah 2009 and spent her year promoting Children's Miracle Network, fundraising for anti-bullying/suicide prevention programs, and speaking to mutual groups.