Coping with Bereavement
The death of a loved one leaves an irreplaceable void that many people are unable to handle alone. Irrespective of age or relationship to the deceased, it can seem unbearable. It can be one of the most painful experiences that anyone can suffer.
Society has a tendency to underestimate the depth of this distress and there is an expectation that people should ‘get over it’ fairly quickly. Those who have suffered a loss know that grief is a process that takes time to work through.
Each bereavement is different. It may be a spouse or partner; a parent; or a child – whether grown up, young or unborn. Or it could be a sibling, a relative or a close friend. For some the loss is sudden, and for others it follows a long illness. There may have been an accident or even an act of violence or suicide. Every set of circumstances has its own challenges.
We all react differently to a loss and much depends on our relationship with the deceased. Some people seem to cope better, but each experience of grief and loss is unique.
Normal expressions of grief include:-
•A feeling of shock and disbelief.
•A welling up of sadness and tears
•Feelings of irritation and outbursts of anger
•Lethargy and aimlessness.
•Loss of motivation.
•Loss of appetite.
The main thing to remember is that although we may feel as if we are going mad this is a normal reaction to loss. Unfortunately, although pain of your loss can be acute, it needs to be experienced and expressed. There is no way around grief, only a way through it.
Many people get help and support from family or friends. But family members often are affected by their own grief making sharing very difficult. In those circumstances a counsellor or bereavement support worker can, for a time, provide the help that is needed. Impartial, experienced and skilled support. Bereavement support services offer just this type of help.
Some points to keep in mind:
•Grieving is a normal process, it takes time and should not be rushed.
•Talking to a sympathetic listener can be very therapeutic.
•Crying is a natural way to grieve and is a normal process for everyone.
•Showing emotions is not weak. It is a sensible response to your feelings.
•Eating regularly is important, as is sleep.
•Be kind to yourself. Accidents happen more frequently at times of stress.
•Ask for help when you need it, there are people who can help.
Sometimes our family and friends don’t know what to say or they may be afraid of upsetting you by talking about your loss.
•Bereavement takes time and it is often best to defer life changing decisions such as moving house or disposing of possessions.
All losses need to be grieved, but the grieving process does not take place in a vacuum. People who lack appropriate support, suppress their grief or lack the means of emerging from it may be impeded in their bereavement. Conversely, healing is promoted when people are given adequate support and accept grief as a natural emotional consequence of loss.