Coping with bereavement
Mourning and grief are experiences which are almost certain to take place to us sooner or later in life. Coping with Bereavement ordinarily means to lose someone we feel affection for through death. It results in a great longing for the deceased person and a cycle of adjustment which may well take years. All parts of our being may possibly be affected – emotional, physical, spiritual and social – but the overriding feeling is one of intense pain, or grief.
Stats from BBC website below
- It’s estimated that each day 500 women in the UK will become widows.
- It’s estimated that 175,000 men in the UK become widowers each year.
- About 180,000 children under the age of 16 years lose a parent.
- About 12,000 children die in the UK each year
Many others are affected by the death of a parent, a friend or a much-loved pet. There are many people out there struggling to cope with bereavement.
What is grief
The first step to coping with bereavement is dealing with grief. Grief is the name given to the natural reactions we suffer after the death of someone who’s been close to us. Like with a physical injury, the recovery and healing process can take time. This episode cannot be rushed and varies from person to person.
When we’re grieving, it’s not easy to understand what’s happening. One of the ways in which we can understand better is to look at other losses in our lives, each of which requires a period of adjustment.
Even a straightforward one such as losing your keys will generate a reaction. At the start, we may well have feelings of disbelief, panic, confusion, leading to annoyance, anger and inconvenience.
Life has been for the time being upset and it takes a while to adjust to the new circumstances. In time, we’ll either find the keys or accept their loss.
Learning to adapt.
The second step to coping with bereavement is learning to adapt. Recovering from a death is parallel but feelings are extra intense, heartrending and last much longer.
It too is a process of learning to adapt to the new-found situation. There’s a meaningless space where before there was a living human being.
I have been involved with Probate and Will writing for over 20 years now and know from experience that everybody handles loss differently. Loss and Grief do not respect age, sex or relationships; they represent emotions that can be both empowering and utterly debilitating. I have spoken to clients on the day of their loved ones death and as long into the process as three years later.
Grief can strike at anytime my personal experience of grief is it krept up slowly and persistently like an ever growing wall made up of bricks of pain that just crept higher each day until one day it was impossible to climb and difficult to walk round. Its a difficult emotion to describe as there is no one explanation; its not one size fits all. I’ve spoken to people who could hardly talk through sobbing and others who were so incandescent with rage they could not contain themselves long enough to have a coherent conversation about their needs or the needs of their children.
The phrase time heals all wounds in my opinion is a white lie designed to give people in pain hope of a brighter future and for most the future is always brighter, for others not so. The future may appear to be just the well trodden path of numbness and normal. in my case neither bright or sad just grey like a never ending motorway unaccompanied by nothing but the sound of my own thoughts and the constant wur of meaningless forward motion.
For these people, people like me grief holds them back, an anchor of sorrow impeading the very human need to move forward. Fortunately there is help out there and you should not be afraid to seek it. We are lucky to have a wealth of professional and volunteers who understand the this very human condition and can offer very real help. At the tender age of 45 I asked for help and found it. I found it on my own terms and in a way that suited me. I found a talking therapy worked and is working for me I was a sceptic; refusing help in the past but by chance Weybridge hospital burnt down and some of the therapists started practicing from my office building. For me I like to think after 3 years fate and friendship intervened.
You can find help with bereavement, loss and grief here
With thanks to Dr Nicola Taylor