As someone who has experienced many losses in my life, this is the first time that I have had someone asked me this question. Then it made me think back of the time when I truly felt the feeling of losing someone so dear to me in 2007. How did I cope?
To be honest, I did not look up any sort of self-help nor did I seek comfort in others. Yes they would offer their condolences and words of comfort but I felt that I just need some time on my own to let out all these feelings. Frankly speaking, I know that there are people who has not experience this, does not know how or what to say to make others similar to my situation feel better, so i'd rather save them the awks. I actually believe that you should and would be the best person to figure the best way to deal with grief. So yes, for me was to grief in silence, on my own. I'd spend nights (and sometimes days) crying on my own in my room. I did not hold back. I cried till my tissues turned soggy, I cried into my pillow till my pillow and blanket wet, my eyes and nose red and I would wake up the next day with swollen eyes but it felt good; I felt better.
It started with denial. Not that I refused to believe, but I COULDN'T believe that he was gone. Yes, I asked why? I asked God Why? I asked the four walls in my room Why? Why him? I would even sometimes hope and pray that he will come back and I can see him again and perhaps have a short chat thinking that he might have some last words to tell me. I also wondered how I would react but to be honest I think I would be scared shitless.
At the same time, I felt anger but no I did not blamed God for causing this accident and taking him away from us but I questioned the existent of God. Was I not religious enough? Did I not pray hard and sincerely enough? Did God not hear our prayers? In tough times like these, I questioned my faith. Perhaps that was when I started to fall out of my relationship with God.
The process for me, felt like this: 1st - 2nd month since his passing was tough, I'd still think of him everyday to weekly and thinking back of all the times we had. 3rd - 5th month, it got better, but I still think of him.every now and then or when something reminds me of him. 6th month onwards, life is catching up, I still think of him but I slowly forget about the tragedy. The one year anniversary was the shittiest. I remember crying my eyes out. Then as months and years pass, I don't think of it anymore unless I choose to think of it (like now). I experienced losses of people I know after my brother and even though we may not be as close, I would be reminded of the day and the scene when my brother passed.
The scariest part for me is when I start to forget. I am scared. I am worried. Scared of the fact that my memories of him are starting to deteriorate. Worried that the only concrete memories that I can remember of him are photos but i can't make up the scene. When I look back at his photo(s) I would ask myself, "Was this how he looked like during this age/time?". I read back testimonials left by friends and families and I sometimes find myself saying "Oh yeah, this incident. Now I remember" or "How can I forget this".
There is a popular saying "Time heals everything" but I beg to differ. In time, you just start to "let go" because life is catching up with you. You meet new friends, start a new semester, start a new job, filling your time with your hobbies and you will slowly forget but it does not truly and fully heal because every time when you think back, there will always be something that is missing. 12 years has passed, I still feel the same sorrow I felt on that fateful day.