Four Months After & Still Coping

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Graciela Francis

My Tío Arturo died in August and I’m still coping with it.

Kymberly Francis, Reporter

It’s been four months since he died. He had COVID and was medicated too late because everyone thought it was just pneumonia and on that tragic day, he had a heart attack and died in that hospital room. Tío Arturo was a marvelous man, father, husband, brother, son and uncle. I remember one time when I was young, I was obsessed with “The Lego Movie” and when I went to go visit my family in Mexico, he greeted me with a Lego set from the movie. 

Tío Arturo was a very giving man and I can’t remember a visit to Mexico where I didn’t come back without jewelry, toys or clothes. He loved camouflage so much and one year we got him a camo hunting hat with a bug net which he loved so much. He always cared about his family and always was gentle with his triplets and nieces. 

Whenever Bryttney broke her arm, we didn’t have money. My dad was in the army in the U.S. and we didn’t have a lot of money since our mom was our only source of income with the help of our grandparents. She had a compound fracture and had to go to surgery as soon as we got the blood. My Tío Arturo paid for it all.

I remember the day he died like it was yesterday. I went to color guard practice on 20 Aug. 2020. Although I knew he wasn’t in the best shape, it was my commitment and I had to go. My family all had a bad feeling that day so I kept my phone on me during that practice. 

At around 7:20 pm, my sister texted me saying he was dead. I completely crumbled to the ground and began to sob. I started to text my dad begging to pick me up but he couldn’t. I sat in the field and cried.

 When I finally got picked up at the end of practice, I numbed myself so that my mom wouldn’t cry more seeing me cry, locked myself in my room, played my sad playlist and a panic attack started. I was crying so hard I wasn’t breathing enough. I nearly passed out. With the help of my friends, I was able to calm down and went to go say goodbye at his funeral which we attended on facetime.

Losing my uncle has one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through in my life and I haven’t really coped with it yet. Losing loved ones will never get easier and it’s a bitter truth but there are ways to help cope with it and ways to remember them fondly. I would go hang out with friends when I could or stay close with my mom and reminisce the funny memories and the good times we had with him. 

So how do you cope with the loss of a loved one?

Let it out. Don’t hold it in or distract yourself from it as that will make the feelings worse, take my word for it. If you don’t express yourself, the emotions will continue to boil inside you until you explode.

When I didn’t let myself process his death, my mom sent me a picture of my cousins, his kids, and I broke down in class and had to leave the class and my whole day changed from good to sad and nostalgic. By surrounding myself with friends, I eventually cheered up and started being my normal happy self.

I have an unhealthy habit of not eating due to stress so I put myself on a balanced diet to get nutrients in my body so I have the energy to function in the day. I don’t know about you, but I have to have food in my system or I get angry and sad easily. If I didn’t eat, I’d end up isolating myself in my room and watching my comfort movies to try and keep me in the comfort of my cat and stuffed animals. 

Don’t push your loved ones away because they are most likely suffering too and went to you for comfort. It is okay wanting to be alone, but you can’t be alone forever. My mom would take us downtown for tacos on the weekends as a treat for doing well in school and she told us a story about how my uncle introduced her to tacos de lengua (cow tongue tacos). We all shed a few tears, but enjoyed our meal nonetheless. 

Treat yourself. After his death, my family would go get ice cream every now and then or we would go to the mall for stuff we needed but have been putting off. I got a haircut and I felt better for a while. 

If you can’t feel better at all, I recommend seeing a therapist or a counselor as it could be more than coping with death. It helped me a lot whenever I would have the chance to see the school counselors or my therapist as I would be able to let everything out and not worry about stressing them out.

Overall, what I have learned is that coping with the death of a loved one is so hard. The only ways I would feel better would be by hanging out with loved ones, getting some of our favorite foods, letting my feelings out, and talking to my friends and therapist, and going to guard practice as much as I could. It took forever but now I do fully understand that my uncle is no longer here and I am wanting to leave him a flower at his tombstone as a small greeting.

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