Bereavement is deeply distressing but is also a common and natural experience.
Whilst everyone grieves in their own way, there are feelings, thoughts and behanviours which many people experience. These can include:
- numbness, shock and disbelief
- relief, guilt, fear, anger, anxiety, agitation
- loneliness, helplessness or depression
- Needing to understand why it has happened and whether anything could have been done differently
- Disappointment or despair that hopes and dreams will not now be realised
- Difficulty with sleeping, eating, concentration or short term memory
- Feeling upset if some family or friends avoid contact
- Being unable to contemplate a different future or that you’ll ever find happiness again
- Feeling you are ‘going mad’
- Experiencing a loss of self confidence and confusion about who you are now
- Try not to bottle up your thoughts and feelings – for most people talking about what has happened is helpful
- Try to look after yourself as grieving is both exhausting and demanding. Take time out to sleep, to rest, to remember both the good and bad times and to be with those important to you
- Try to remain hopeful that your different future can be a positive one – try not to cut yourself off from friendships and activities that you used to enjoy
- Try not to ignore forthcoming anniversaries, holidays and other special events – expect them to be difficult and consider making a plan to cope with these significant days
- Accidents are very common in bereavement – so take extra special care when driving or operating other machinery
- Trust your own instincts when it comes to making major decisions or sorting through your loved one’s personal effects. If in doubt, wait or seek advice.
- Try to share your grief with your family – children often need permission to express their feelings but also to carry on with normal activities such as going to school, playing etc.