Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to say how sorry we are that you or someone dear to you is experiencing grief following the loss of a loved one.
Loss, regardless of how old you or indeed how old the person who has died was will have an impact on your life. Sometimes the loss that you feel will be world altering – you will question how your life could ever be ‘normal’ again. There may be other times when your ability to cope with your loss is easier, the burden of your grief may feel lighter and you may feel stronger and able to ‘carry on’ coping with your loss privately. First and foremost, understanding that you are not alone is paramount. We know that not everyone has friends or family that they can talk to, indeed, there will be times when you do not want to communicate with anybody; but we do not want anyone to feel that they are alone or to suffer their grief in silence. Speaking to someone independent from your inner circle can be easier, you can feel less of a burden and speak freely without worrying about being judged or criticised. We are here to help.
Everybody deals with grief differently, there are no two people the same and no two people will deal with loss in the same way.
It’s important to remember you are not alone, that there are people here for you, whether it’s us or your family/friends.
The better your understanding of grief and how it is healed, the better equipped you’ll be to help yourself heal.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. This is a drum that we continuously bang here. It’s of the utmost importance that you understand this. If you have personally suffered a loss, do not worry what others are thinking or doing. Do not worry if someone doesn’t understand how they “should” talk to you or what they” should” say. Inevitably at some point, someone will put their foot in it. Grieve your way, do what you feel is right for you. If you feel like crying in the day time and want to just sit and think about what has happened then be kind to yourself , be comfortable with your grief and do what feels right for you at the time..
You may find there are times when you may not want to leave your home, you may not want to eat or talk to anybody… you may feel like closing yourself off to the world… a hibernation of sorts. You may have emotional episodes where you are inconsolable. This is a way of dealing with painful feelings. All of these feelings are normal parts of the grieving process.
Grief does not always unfold in orderly or predictable stages. It can be an emotional roller coaster, with unpredictable highs, lows, and setbacks. Everyone grieves differently and at different times. Do not feel wrong to feel a certain way. Grief is often described as coming in waves. Sometimes the sea of grief will be rough and stormy and at other times that sea will be calm and tranquil and you will be able to swim in it easily.
There is no set timetable for grieving. For many people, the initial recovery after bereavement takes between 18 and 24 months, but for others, the grieving process may be longer or shorter; every person and scenario is different. Don’t pressure yourself to move on or ‘Pull Yourself Together’. You should never feel like you’ve been grieving for too long. This can actually slow the healing process. Be patient with yourself. Understand that your life will not revert back to how it was before your loss, you have suffered something life changing and as such your life will take adjusting, and you will gradually achieve a different sense of normal when your emtions are less raw.
No one is there to tell you what not to do. There may be times when you feel you can’t carry on, or that the grief you are feeling is becoming overwhelming . If you have any suicidal thoughts please call the Samaritans on 116 123. If you are reading this for your friend please reach out to them. Which leads us on to….
Supporting Someone Who Is Grieving
You may be here because someone you love – A friend or family member, has suffered a loss. You want to know how best to support this person through what is happening to them – whether their loss is a shock or an expected death, one thing is certain. Your loved one will need you .
As we said earlier the better your understanding of grief and how it is healed, the better equipped you’ll be to help a bereaved family member or friend.
If you are trying to support someone who has suffered a loss, do not tell your loved one or friend what or how they should be feeling. Dont compare their grief with anybody else’s, the last thing they will want to hear is a story of ‘when your Grandma died’ and what you did or how you felt.. Grief is unique as is the way we handle that grief. How we channel our emotions, and the coping mechanisms that are employed along the way. You may see your loved one in a different light, you may be upset to see them in so much pain. This is a time to put your loved ones first, even if the loss has upset you too. It’s incredibly important that your loved one feels validated in their grief. Their pain is not something that has a finite end date… be patient and be kind. Let them know that you are truly there for them, whenever they may need you and for however long.
Grief may involve extreme emotions and behaviors. Feelings of guilt, anger, despair, and fear are common when grieving the loss of a loved one. A grieving person may yell to the people they love the most, obsess about the death, stop communicating with loved ones, or cry for hours on end. Your loved one needs reassurance that what they feel is normal. Don’t judge them or take their reactions to grief personally.
It is imperative to show patience, understanding and acceptance of the process the person is going through.