Experiencing grief and the challenges it causes

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The loss of Laura Cooper was tragic, devastating, concerning and frustrating all at once.

As we watch tragedies such as this unfold, our thoughts go out to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

I recently lost a loved one as well.

So, while I know my sympathy may be a drop in the ocean of letters, flowers and phone calls expressing all the same thoughts I am extending now, I wish to first and foremost express my deepest sympathy to the loved ones and honor a woman whose death came too soon.

I didn’t know Laura Cooper, but I know she will be missed by many, and her death will not be forgotten.

In her obituary she was known as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, auntie and friend; a cancer survivor; a woman who loved crafts, cooking and 1980s movies and music; a woman “who made everyone who met her feel special with her kindness and fun-loving personality.”

Most importantly, she was loved and she loved.

All I know of grief is that it’s important to go through the stages appropriately - denial, anger, regret, depression and acceptance.

Listing the stages of grief feels cold and matter-of-fact. But as messy and different they are for each of us — they exist.

And while acceptance seems like a destination we currently can’t even envision, we will never forget, but someday we will find ourselves mourning less and celebrating a life more.

When I lost my father a few weeks ago, I told myself that I wouldn’t become angry. Not at him, and not at anyone.

But as the shock and denial wore off, I fell into the second stage of grief - anger.

I was angry, and couldn’t lie to myself by thinking “I’m not angry” anymore.

I had to learn that it was okay to be angry and weak, and that was difficult to accept.

My father didn’t die in an automobile accident, but if he did, I would also direct my anger at whoever was responsible.

Yet, in newspapers and in day-to-day life, we can’t place guilt on someone until they are found guilty.

In the past few weeks since Laura Cooper’s death, I hope our readers know that we are feeling some of the same emotions you are.

The Western News is more than just our articles and advertisements, we are people too.

With that being said, I hope that our readers understand when we write “allegedly,” it isn’t because we aren’t taking Cooper’s death lightly.

As a newspaper, we have to uphold the law and, while we may hide our emotions from our readers, we have to accept “innocent until proven guilty.”

There have been many moments during my short journalism career which I wanted to express my opinion and emotions.

In newspapers, you may bend the rules, but you can’t break them.

It’s difficult sometimes to not write in all-caps on the front page what we truly feel, and I’m sure most journalists would agree.

Yet, we write for all of you, innocent and guilty alike.

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