‘Bereavement, for most of us, will be the most distressing experience we will ever face’ (Cruse Bereavement Care)
We grieve after any sort of loss, but most acutely after the death of someone we care about and love. Everyone experiences this grief but everyone experiences it differently. There is no right way or correct way to grieve. You may experience feelings of shock and numbness as you take time to grasp and understand what has happened even if someone’s death was expected. You may perhaps be overwhelmed with feelings of pain and distress. Often those feelings turn to anger; a completely natural emotion which usually happens as part of the grieving process. Guilt and longing are also very common. A lot of bereaved people will experience feelings of depression following the death of a loved one where they fail to see the meaning of life anymore without that person in their lives. ‘Grief can make you feel many different things. It’s important to remember that these feelings are not bad or wrong. They are simply how you feel’. (AgeUk)
During this grieving time you also have to deal with other people’s reactions. This can sometimes be very challenging as people often do not know what to say or how to respond to your loss. This can even lead to them avoiding you because they are so worried about saying the wrong thing, or facing up to the fact that someday they also will have to deal with a bereavement too.
You may have trouble sleeping, see changes to your appetite and be prone to more colds or even be more accident prone than before. Some people feel restless and edgy other people feel lethargic and exhausted. This is a time to be kind to yourself and not do too much while you are grieving.
How long will my grief last?
How long it takes to accept the death of someone close to you and move on in your life is very personal and different for everyone. It takes time to accept their death and cope and adjust to life without them. Your age and personality as well as your personal circumstances, religious beliefs and whether you have been bereaved before, may influence how you deal with your bereavement.
If you allow your feelings to be expressed it can help you cope with your loss. Taking in the reality of the death will be helped if you talk about the person who has died. You will keep that person in your thoughts and memories, but, by dealing with the present you will slowly find a way of living without the person alongside you.
AgeUK write about looking to the future. They advise that looking back at your life, no matter how young or old you are, is a chance to take stock of the contribution you have made to the world and a bereavement does not take that away. Look forward and realise that you still have something to offer. They suggest making the most of every opportunity to spend time with other people. Take care and time with major decisions, try not to jump into things too quickly.
Help and support
Family and friends can support you through your bereavement. There are also many organisations that offer excellent advice such as Cruse Bereavement Care and AgeUK. Here at Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy we have experienced counsellors and therapists who can help. Talking to a therapist can help you to deal with your feelings of grief. Our emphasis is on friendliness and providing a safe and warm environment. You can phone the Institute on: 0161-862-9456 to book your initial assessment or contact us via email.