It is important to deal with your bereavement and take care of yourself at this difficult time. NBS are here to guide you and ensure you are supported along the way.
DEALING WITH FEELINGS
Grieving is a natural process that can take place after any kind of loss. When someone we love dies we can be left with overpowering feelings, which have to run their course. There are a whole succession of different feelings that can take some time to go through and must not be hurried. Although people are all individuals, the order in which they go through these feelings is very similar.
For some time following the death of someone who is close, most people feel totally stunned. A feeling of disbelief is common, even if the death has been expected (say after a long period of illness). This feeling of numbness can actually be a help in dealing with the various practical arrangements that have to be made, but this detachment from reality can become a problem if it goes on for too long.
To overcome this feeling of numbness for some people it can help to see the person who has died. It is not until the funeral that the reality of what has happened finally sinks in. Although it may be distressing to attend the funeral or to see the body, it is important to say goodbye to the ones we loved.
It is often the case for people who did not do this to experience a great feeling of regret for years to come. After the feeling of numbness has gone, it is often replaced by a sense of agitation and a yearning for the person who has died. This can affect the bereaved in their everyday life, it may be difficult to relax, concentrate or sleep properly.
Some people experience disturbing dreams, others feel they see their loved one everywhere they go and especially in the places that they used to spend time together. It is also quite usual to feel angry at the time, maybe towards the person who has left them. Another common feeling is guilt. It is likely that the bereaved will go over in their mind all the things that they had wished that they had said or done. In some cases, they may even consider what they could have done to have prevented the death. Of course, death is usually beyond the control of anyone and they must be reminded of this.
There is a list of care associations who can help support you through your grieving at the bottom of this page.
DO'S AND DON'TS OF GRIEF
We are all individuals and have our own particular ways of grieving but the "do's and don'ts" listed below offer some practical advice which may help.
Guilt is often experienced, if a sense of relief is felt after the person dies, particularly after a distressing illness. This feeling of relief is perfectly natural and very common, and is nothing to feel guilty about.
These strong confusing feelings can be felt for quite a while following someone's death and are generally followed by periods of sadness and depression.
Grief can be sparked off many months after the death by things that bring back memories. It can be difficult for other people to understand or cope with someone who bursts into tears for no apparent reason. Some people who can't deal with this tend to stay away at the time when they are needed most of all. It is best to return to a normal life as soon as possible and to resume normal activities.
For the bereaved partner, there are constant reminders of their loneliness seeing other couples together, and from the images seen on television of happy families. All of this can make it difficult to adjust to a new, single lifestyle.
As time passes, the pain of early bereavement begins to fade. The depression lessens and it's possible to think about other things again. The different stages of mourning tend to overlap and can show themselves in various ways.
There is no standard way of grieving as we have our own individual ways of dealing with all of life's trials, not least the loss of someone we love.
FRIENDS AND RELATIVES CAN HELP
Generally by spending time with the person who has been bereaved.
• Being close to others can be a great source of comfort. It is not always necessary to say anything, just being there is enough.
• It is important that a bereaved person is able to talk and cry with someone without being told to pull himself or herself together.
• It can also be difficult for people to understand why the bereaved keep covering the same ground, talking and apparently becoming distressed about the same things over and over again. However, this is an important part of the healing process and should really be encouraged.
• Not mentioning the name of the person who has died (for fear of upsetting them), can lead to a sense of isolation and can add to the grief of the bereaved.
• Another difficult time when friends and relatives can be of help is festive occasions and anniversaries, which can be particularly painful for years to come.
• Practical help with domestic chores and looking after children can all lead to easing the difficulties facing the bereaved.
• Elderly bereaved partners may need more practical help than most, particularly with financial arrangements - paying the bills etc.
ADVICE AND SUPPORT
There are several organisations used to dealing with bereavement. It is sometimes easier to talk to someone outside your circle of family and friends, rather than to someone who is close to you and perhaps in a similar situation.
Please click on the links if you feel you need to talk to someone.