Eclectic rapper Andre 3000 is in mourning tonight. His mother, Sharon Benjamin-Hodo, was found dead in her Atlanta, Georgia home May 28 – the day after he turned 38. The cause of death has not been confirmed, but Benjamin-Hodo’s death is felt within the hip-hop community. Fellow rappers have been tweeting condolences and support to Andre and his family as they grieve the loss of their matriarch.
Benjamin-Hodo’s death reminds us that loss is imminent in all of our lives. None of us will escape death and our families won’t either. We will all mourn and endure the difficulties of grief. Though coping is difficult, the Good Grief Center for Bereavement Support offers several tips for moving through the stages of grief.
Talk about your loss with friends, family or a professional.
Grief is a process, not an event. You cannot travel this path alone. You need the support and care of others. Call on a trusted family member or friend, church clergy, or professional counselors. Call your local hospice agency or community grief center for advice to get you started.
Let yourself enter the emotions of grief.
Grievers tend naturally to avoid the painful emotions. Losing someone close to you means you deserve to allow yourself to feel all your emotions – sadness, anger, intense longing, guilt and others.
Consider writing your loved one a letter.
Say what you would tell them as if it were your last chance. Even if you never share the letter with anyone, writing it may help you work through your grief.
Consider seeking out other grievers.
Someone who has also been through grief can empathize with you, and vice versa. Organizations like Compassionate Friends or THEOS recognize the value of sharing in a group setting.
Take care of yourself.
You have been wounded. Something very valuable and dear has been taken away from you. Give yourself time and space to begin healing. Get enough rest. Eat nourishing food. Give yourself a break.
Don’t neglect your own health.
Grieving puts a heavy burden of stress on your body. It can disturb sleep patterns, lead to depression, weaken your immune system, and worsen medical problems that had been stable, such as high blood pressure. Take prescribed medications and get regular check-ups. If you suffer from disabling insomnia or anxiety, see your doctor. Sometimes short-term medication can be very helpful.
Seek professional help.
Grief work can become complicated. Mixed emotions (positive and negative feelings), unresolved emotional turmoil and losing someone after an argument can complicate the grieving process. Sharing these feelings with a professional therapist can help. Grief therapy need not be a long-term commitment. Even if you don’t see yourself as the kind of person who seeks therapy, this may be beneficial.
Allow time to grieve.
One to two years is not a long time to allow yourself to work through grief. We need to remind ourselves that the healing process cannot be rushed; it will proceed at its own rate.
The grieving process often includes setbacks. Don’t expect to set an “I’ll be over it” deadline and succeed. Often, grieving resumes after a time, sometimes even months or years. Reminders can trigger a flood of emotions. Don’t be surprised if this happens, and don’t consider it a sign of weakness. Instead, your psyche is telling you more grief work needs to be done.
Create your own memorial service.
Celebrate their lifetime accomplishments, values, and principles. Consider carrying the torch of a cause they believed in as a memorial. Start a scholarship, plant a garden, or make a donation in their name.
How do you cope with grief Clutchettes and gents?