The following is a guest post entry into our Survival & Preparedness Writing Contest.
Here’s another little chat on another subject that we all would like to ignore.
During the Vietnam war I lost close friends including my childhood friend that I joined the Marine Corps with. At that time in my life the rule of the day was “suck it up and move on” there was not time for grief or mourning, so you put it away for later…only later never came. I got pretty good at that. So good that when I went home and years later my parents both died within six months of each other, I was still able to “put it away and move on”. I was in PTSD denial for decades.
I just recently had my cat of 15 years wake me crying at six in the morning. He was fine the night before, sleeping in the crook of my arm. He went into seizures and died within minutes. I have lived alone for the last few years and he had been my buddy, sticking his nose into everything I did. Yeah, you can say he was just a cat, but the grief I felt from his death and having to bury him really brought a lot of emotions home for me and caused me a couple of weeks of loss and confusion in which I got very little done.
If you are going to effectively function in an apocalyptic world grief and loss are some of the many emotions that you are going to have to deal with, most likely on a regularity you have never known before. Give it some serious thought now, it will make things easier for you later.
We are all going to lose people close to us on an accelerated basis from things unthinkable in today’s world. Those with debilitating medical problems and diabetics will die much sooner than we would normally expect. Many will die from an unprecedented epidemic of violence, disease, hunger and a loss of simple hygiene. We will be living in the third world with very few third worlders who have the skills to survive in that world. I suspect the quantity of the dead alone will be a severe problem.
This will be an emotionally painful period and you may well “have to put it aside and move on” and I suggest that you do so for the sake of yourself and the others in your groups immediate safety. Although doing this has been a major cause of PTSD in combat, I can see no way around this other than to strongly suggest that as a group you address the loss at a later safer time. Have a formal funeral and talk about the person lost. Express your pain and cry as you would in the “Real world” Support those close to the person lost and listen to them, try to give them time to grieve and lighten their duties if possible.
We say “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” The loss of someone close will truly be the worst. Give it some thought now and prepare yourself to deal with that worst case scenario now as you would any other. You will probably not hurt any less, but you will come out the other side of it better to build a new world.