Handling Topics of Death of A Character In Your Writing

When handling topics of death of a character in your writing, remember that person is doing the best they can. Your writing can use these stages of grieving for more depth of dialogue.

Which way do you write?

Some writers do not kill their characters.

Other writers kill a few of their characters.

A few writers kill most of their characters.

The stages of going through grief

The five stages of grief in real life can help you when writing. The steps can allow your reader to engage with your content. It is as if they are going through the steps in real life.

Have you ever experienced losing someone close to you to death? Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in On Death and Dying explaining the stages of going through grief. There are five stages that people go through?denial and isolation; anger; bargaining; depression. And finally, acceptance. The dying, as well as those around them, go through these same stages. These stages are not usually predictable. No one can predict how long any of the phases will last.

Grief is a person’s best attempt to get something they want

You may think you are in one phase, then jump to another of the stages. There is no pattern?only what feels right for each individual at the time.? If you are grieving and a well-meaning person suggests that you should not be feeling that way, kindly thank them for their concern but know that you are where at the time you need to be.

It is our way of keeping that person alive

However, with grief, sometimes you can think, “I should be over this by now” or “this is lasting too long.” When you begin to feel it is time to move beyond where you are, trust that feeling.

It helps us avoid the total absence of the person

When you understand that every behavior has a purpose, grief is a person’s best attempt to get something they want. It becomes easier to determine what to do with grief. What are we trying to get by being in despair? It is natural when we lose a person that we will miss their presence in our life.

It is our way of keeping that person alive, even if it is in our imaginary world. They are no longer with us in the real world. When you continue to think about them, pine for them, grieve their presence, then keep thinking about that person being active in our perception.

It helps us avoid the total absence of the person.

It makes us feel better as if we had not lost them.

Some consider the possible advantage of grieving is it shows others just how much we cared for and loved the person who died. I’m not suggesting that people are manipulative in their grief. I am saying that there can be a side benefit to grief by showing others how much we cared. It can say, “See what a good ___________ I was.” You can fill in the blank with boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend.

The possible advantage of grieving

Grief allows us to get the support we need from others during our time of sorrow. Others do things for us that we would usually do for ourselves. Please don’t think that I am saying a grieving person wakes up and “decides” to grieve so someone will stop by the house to help or bring a meal. None of this is conscious because I am pointing out the potential advantages of grief.

Once we become aware of what our grief does and doesn’t do for us, then comes the next step. We have to decide about how we want to go forward in our lives. That is the way we or our readers see us handling topics of death of a character.

Every person is doing the best they can

Three options are in every situation, leave, change, or accept. When death happens, you may wonder how someone is going to “leave it.” Some possible ways would be the denial of the loss, suicide, drugs, alcohol abuse, or sinking into a mental illness.

When we experience getting caught up in our changing things, we might continue our grief as we attempt to get the person back.

A person can take constant trips to the cemetery

have frequent conversations with the deceased

refuse to believe he or she is gone

continually sharing about the person who is gone.

There are many things done in an attempt to change the details or reality of loss.

A step in this process is finding a way to maintain that person’s presence in our lives. An individual thing, and you must be very careful not to judge the bereaved’s choices.

Grieving choices

people keep the remains

others place some ashes in a necklace

some wear some of the ashes around their neck

some will set up scholarships or various types of memorials

There are many creative ways to continue to maintain the person’s presence. There are no wrong ways. Whatever brings comfort to the one grieving should be supported by people they know. When a person chooses something that may be distasteful or wrong to you, it doesn’t make it inappropriate. Remember that person is doing the best they can in handling topics of death of a character in your book dialogue and in real life.

The last stage is acceptance. Then the grieving person can begin to assimilate back into their lives. Know it will take time. Have patience and understanding for anyone coming back from grieving.

Suppose a person doesn’t appear to be grieving at all. There are explanations for this blocking. They could be private and do not want to show they are grieving where others see. The person may be trying to be strong so that they can take care of others.

If you are grieving or you are around someone who is in grief, please don’t judge them or yourself. Every behavior has a purpose, each person will get something out of grieving. When they become conscious of what stage they are in they will know that there is a choice, they can decide which one of the three possible options they want to take.

Three options are in every situation, leave, change, or accept.? Once they decide on a direction they want to go, they have to determine their details and take action.