Our community has suffered a blow this week. Dr. Albert O’Mahony, a revered Clarenville family doctor for years, met an untimely death.

Only a few weeks ago, I had seen him walk in our neighborhood with Donna. He then greeted us with his signature broad grin and vibrant demeanor.

Not too long ago, he had just referred patients to my clinic, patients who he cared for all his life, patients who respected him with all sincerity.

Having lived in Clarenville most of his productive life, he has somehow inspired me and my wife, and other physicians to stay in this nice community.

I even pondered how a fine, promising physician had lived here for 35 years when his options were endless. When he first arrived and established his practice here, the community was still undeveloped — no paved roads, no malls, no traffic lights, no hospital, no car dealership, no Creative World, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and Tim’s.

But I understand. He loved his patients, adored his friends and medical colleagues, cherished Clarenville, and declared this place a home for his loving, adorable family. Certainly, a wise choice for a man of his stature.

Now a thriving community outside St. John’s, Clarenville and adjacent areas are saddened by his sudden departure. For the past few days, I’ve seen many of his patients, friends, and colleagues mourn. Many are still in shock, still asking questions, still groping for answers and explanations.

But one thing for sure, he is meant to join the Creator and His Kingdom — a rightful place for him after several years of dedicated service.

How are we going to cope?

Express your emotions

Recognize and share the pain. It’s normal and proper to express your sorrow to a confidant or to a few close friends and relatives who can relate. Cry if you feel doing so.

Accept that healing takes time. Any emotional pain that results from death requires days, weeks, or even months to cure. Although majority of people feel better after a few weeks, some remain sad for several months. Don’t feel bad if you don’t recover as fast as others. It’s not your fault. As you probably know, people have different emotional make-up and hence, have different recovery time. But time is your ally. Gradually and surely, you will recover.

Don’t feel guilty about the loss. I know that you’re probably thinking what you should have or could have done while your loved one was still alive. But if you’ve tried to be normal and to be you all this time, you don’t have anything to worry about. Your departed loved one understands you’re just human.

Establish networks

Communicate with your relatives as often as possible. Through phone, e-mail, and chat, you’re just a few seconds away from your long lost friends and acquaintances.

If possible, you may establish family reunions or gatherings to reestablish connection. And for those who can’t come, give them a surprise visit. Friends and family can make your heart grow healthier.

Create family rituals that can help ease the pain. Prayers with close friends and family members provide a peaceful closure to a sudden loss, a solemn communication with the departed loved one, and a spiritual link with the Heavenly Creator.

Another effective way to establish connection is to help others. Through volunteering, you can be a part of a thriving community of helpers and feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

Involve in physical and recreational activities

Involve in physical and recreational activities but obtain enough rest and nutrition. Keep yourself active and stay fit. Eat balanced meal while you maintain an average of seven hours of sleep. As you know, a healthy body keeps emotional problems at bay.

Your hobbies can keep you away from the sad days ahead so keep on doing them. As well, maintain your daily routine. Go to work, church, or social functions just like before. Do your chores as vigorously as before the loss.

But personalize your coping. Do what fits you rather than what fits your next door neighbor. Don’t jog a 10-km distance if you haven’t done so for years.

Put loss into perspective

Any loss is painful. In fact, just losing a pen can be a big hassle especially if your work requires writing. However, if we try to redirect our pain and loss to giving, sharing, and loving, then the pain becomes a gain. Suddenly, the emotional pain enters a spiritual dimension never before experienced.

Dr. Annette Colby says, “To share and expand love with all life on this incredible earth, we begin with ourselves. We serve others when we become living, breathing, walking examples of inspired, excited lives. . . The magic spreads as we become the magic.”

Yes, one way to deal with a loss is to selflessly open ourselves to others, and share the magic that lies within us.

Albert, thanks for your dedication and inspiration. So long.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright © 2007. Dr. Michael G. Rayel – author (A 31-Day Series and First Aid to Mental Illness) psychiatrist, and inventor of emotional intelligence games -- The Oikos Game Series and The CEO. Since 2005, he has published Oikos’ Insights! www.oikosinsights.com as an online resource for personal development. For more information, visit www.oikosglobal.com.