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We offer the following useful information to help you and your family members cope with grief after the loss of a loved one

Woman sitting on a seat thinking about past loved oneBackgroundBackgroundBackground

We offer the following useful information to help you and your family members cope with grief after the loss of a loved one

Everyone copes with bereavement in their own way, but there do seem to be stages that most people go through and it can be helpful to be aware of these. We tend not to talk about death in our society – but it is something that everyone shares and must find a path through.

Everyone copes with bereavement in their own way, but there do seem to be stages that most people go through and it can be helpful to be aware of these. We tend not to talk about death in our society – but it is something that everyone shares and must find a path through.

A sense of unreality

In the first hours and days people often have a sense of unreality. This detached feeling can help them cope with the immediate shock. Sometimes it is not until some days after the funeral that the reality of what has happened sinks in.  However, if this disconnected feeling goes on too long it can be quite damaging.

Emotional turmoil

This sense of emotional detachment is often followed by a feeling of great agitation and yearning, which can affect everyday life. It may be difficult to relax, concentrate or even to sleep properly.

Some people experience anger – towards doctors or hospitals for not preventing the death, towards even close family and friends and sometimes towards the person who has left them.

It is also common to feel guilty, for all sorts of reasons including having experienced a sense of relief if the person had a distressing illness.

Time the healer

At first there will be reminders of bereavement. Anniversaries and celebrations can be painful; seeing couples everywhere may remind the bereaved person of their single state. But the adage “time is a great healer” is true for most people.

It is important not to rush into major life changes for some time after a death; but it is good to make plans and do life-affirming things that you enjoy, such as hobbies, studying, outings and time spent with family and friends.

Moving on

There is no standard time it takes to grieve, but if you feel you are stuck and can’t move on, it is important to get help. Depression is a common result of bereavement, but there are plenty of people who can support you. Some organisations are listed at the end of this booklet, but a good starting point is your family doctor.

Your family doctor can help

The first stop for people coping with bereavement should be their family doctor. Apart from their ability to help if you are suffering sleepless nights, they can also refer you to local counselling services and support groups if you need some extra support.

Family and friends can help

It is important that a bereaved person can talk and cry without being told to pull themselves together. People shouldn’t feel awkward about mentioning the deceased. And if the bereaved person keeps going over and over the same ground, remember this is a natural part of coming to terms with a death. The most important thing is to stay in touch and be available for them.

Grief in children and adolescents

Even very young children grieve for the loss of a loved one, though children generally can’t explain or understand death until they are four or five years old.

Children experience the passing of time differently and so may seem to overcome grief quite quickly. But they do need to be reassured that they are not in any way to blame as it is quite common for them to feel they are. They may also not want to talk to their surviving parent, not wishing to add to their grief. It can be helpful if someone is specifically asked to support them through this period.

Floyd & Son have a booklet to help answer children’s questions about death. Feel free to contact us should you require a copy.

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