When you lose someone in a traffic accident you will go through a great deal of suffering. The pain is both sudden and overwhelming. It’s normal to be in shock or numb. You will experience a range of emotions as you slowly come to accept what has happened.
It’s natural to first be in denial about the accident. You may believe there’s been a mistake and the person is really okay. Many people wake up hoping it was all a nightmare only to have to go through all the emotions over again as they realize that it’s all too real. The anguish is enough to bring you to your knees.
Then you may experience anxiety, panic attacks and fear of being in a crash yourself. This can be especially true for those who have survived a fatal car accident themselves. They may relive the crash and suffer post traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath. Driving may become difficult and fear may set in when you are in traffic.
As you move through the stages of grief it’s likely there will be great anger over the loss, followed by depression guilt and ultimately acceptance of the loss. Be prepared for a rocky road as you embark on the journey, but keep in mind that you will endure and ultimately become a stronger person once you make it through.
As the shock of the crash wears off, the grief-stricken often direct anger toward the person who caused the crash. Survivors may blame themselves for not doing something that could have possibly prevented the victim from being in a place where they could be involved in a crash. Some people blame the doctors or nurses for not doing enough to save their loved one. Maybe they blame the paramedics were too slow. Some even direct their anger at God. No matter who is to blame it’s not going to bring back the victim, but it’s a stage many of us go through as we deal with our grief over a tragedy.
There are also times when family or friends of victims may feel resentful toward other crash survivors or their families. Asking why did they survive the crash, but not my family member? Seeing other families with their loved ones at holidays can also create resentment as you wish your life had never been changed by the car crash. Remember this will pass and it’s just another stage you will go through on your emotional journey through grief.
Everyone has their own personal way of grieving the loss of a loved one, but most people will want to talk about their feelings with someone who will listen and cares about them. Others may choose to be alone with their thoughts or keep themselves busy with work or other distractions. During this stage many will become depressed and or have the feeling of hopelessness. Some people experience sudden crying and extreme pain as the realization of the loss sets in.
Over time family members and friends of victims will come to accept what has happened and eventually will get back to normal activities. It’s normal to feel guilty as you get back to your routine and find joy in your life again. Remember your loved one would want you to get back to your life and eventually find happiness as you move forward. There will be setbacks as birthdays, holidays and anniversaries approach, but find ways to honor your loved one on these days and reconnect with their memory in a positive way.
Some people cannot move on and may require help from a support group or therapist. It’s very difficult to handle the emotional weight of losing someone who is loved, but others may depend on you and eventually it’s important to find a way to move past the grief. Remember you are not alone on this journey because there are many others who will share your grief and be there to support you.
Religious Organizations and Support Groups
While believe in God can help some people cope with the loss of a loved one some will shift blame to God and struggle with their faith after losing a friend or relative. There are many resources available to help you on your recovery. Here are some links:
- National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved
- Grief Loss & Recovery
- Grief Share
- The Grief and Bereavement Project
- Grief Resources from National Funeral Directors Association
- Christian Grief and Bereavement Resources
- LDS Mormon Grief Support
- The Compassionate Friends: After the Death of a Child
This article was written for the Seegmiller Law Firm. If you need a personal injury attorney call the firm at 1-855-ASK–WEST. For over 30 years, the Seegmiller Law Firm has been a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and has fought for clients involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability, product liability, auto accidents, dog bites, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, at-work injuries and more. The firm has offices in Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles San Diego, and San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.