How To Cope With Bereavement
Coping with bereavement is a distressing time in anyone’s situation and people learn to deal with their own grief in their own individual ways. There is no right or wrong way to grieve for your loved ones and peoples experience of grief is unique to each person. It is important to know that no matter where you are with coping with your bereavement, that you are not alone.
What is Grieving?
Grief is your bodies emotional response to coping with the passing of a loved one or something you cared for. Whether this grief has occurred from a sudden passing or it was expected, the pain of losing your loved ones can be deeply overwhelming. Grief can cause you to feel a wide range of different emotions.
Grief can occur if you are significantly affected by a change that has happened in your life. For example, if you have become a carer to your loved one, you can grieve the loss of things you once could do but now cannot have time for. Or your loved one can feel grief for a decline in their health, causing them to be unable to do something they once could.
The grieving process is a highly personal experience and overtime you can learn to cope with the loss but it is not clear how it can affect you or how long it can last unless you take precautions overtime to try and adjust to your new life.
What is Anticipatory Grief?
Anticipatory grief can occur if you or someone you care deeply for is diagnosed with a terminal illness. This grief is the process of beginning to mourn prior to the impending loss. This type of grief can be difficult to deal with especially when attempting to stay as positive as possible to support the person who is ill.
On the other hand of this, the person who was diagnosed with the illness can also be affected by anticipatory grief, where they grieve their own impending loss of life and prepare to say goodbye to their loved ones.
How To Grieve Over The Loss Of The Home
Grieve can also take place if your family member or friend has been living in their home for a large duration of their life but are now moving out. Their home can hold many fond memories of their life which has gone beyond their possessions to the actual building itself.
In some circumstances, they may be forced to move following the death of a partner, which will cause two series of grief at one given time. This can make the process of grief worse if they are only able to carry a small amount of possessions with them to their new accommodation.
It is important in such a situation, to defer any major decisions about moving for several months after the initial bereavement to provide a more painless process for your loved one. Moving to a new property so soon after the loss of a loved one can interrupt the grieving process and can make the bereaved individual feel cut off from their old comforting surroundings.
The Grieving Process
Grieving for a loved one is unique to any individual suffering the loss of a loved one. There is no right way to grieve and every person will approach loss in a different way. But when you grieve for the loss of a loved one, you can experience any of all of these emotions:
- Feeling numb
- Acceptance and relief
- Yearning and searching
- Repeating the event
- Restlessness or disturbed sleep
- Loss of confidence
- Profound sadness and depression
How Long Can Grief Last
There is no duration of how long grief should last due to each case being so different depending on how well the person heals. Overtime most people find that the good days will begin to outweigh the bad ones, making it easier to look forwards rather than backwards to remember the good times shared.
Learning to cope with bereavement in any situation is very painful and may take far longer than you initially expected but the initial distressing grief will not last forever.
How To Cope With Bereavement
Coping with your own grief can be difficult, especially if you are taking care of a parent of other close relative or friend.
- Look after yourself
- Create a routine and stick to it
- Try not to be anxious about how you are feeling
- Try not to upset or offend anyone
- Try not to feel rejected
- Don’t be embarrassed to seek help
- It’s okay to laugh
- Remember that people grieve differently and at different paces
- Only do things when you are ready
- Keeping talking to your loved one for comfort
How To Support Someone Grieving
If you are supporting someone grieving, it is important to be there for them by proactively offering to do things as opposed to stating you are simply there for them.
In the beginning of their grief, it is important to prepare to just sit there with them even if they are not yet ready to talk, simply being in their company can help them to not feel alone in their grief. When they are ready to then speak, they will speak to you and it is important to actively listen. If your loved one asks you a question you feel you don’t know how to answer, then don’t, they will have a lot of questions but it is okay to say you aren’t sure. If you have suffered your own bereavement, it may feel right to share your own experience, but this doesn’t always help the other person, it can just open up further questioning of their own situation.
As weeks go by, it is important to keep inviting the bereaved individual to events to continue their development, especially when it comes to special dates such as Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries.
Support When Grieving
If you or a relative feel you need extra support to help you come to terms with the loss of your loved one, there are many different support options available to you.
Many local charities offer bereavement support over the telephone, email or internet forums and some even offer face-to-face support. Some funeral directors churches or other faith organisations organisations and hospices also offer bereavement support. If you are feeling as though your grief has brought you to physically and mentally feel unwell, you can also speak with your GP who can offer you medical advice.