Coping with bereavement
LOSS happens to everyone at some time. Most people expect this to happen later on in life, perhaps to an elderly relative, and loved ones have an idea that they are going to be faced with loss. But even though they know a loved one is dying, when it happens it comes as a great shock, and they are overwhelmed by unexpected feelings. And sometimes the loss of a loved one is sudden and unexpected.
Research has shown that in order to grieve in a healthy way, those suffering bereavement need to spend time grieving for the person and somehow continue to live and to function. If a person spends all of his time grieving and not engaging with life, or all his time pushing the grief away, he may have trouble moving forward and recovering.
Experts give several tips for those undergoing the bereavement process.
Talking to close family and friends, especially those who understand, can help feelings of loneliness by recounting memories and sharing stories that summed up the character of the person no longer with them. Such discussions remind everyone why the person was so loved in the first place.
In a similar vein, some may consider making a tribute of some kind to help pay their respects in a symbolic way. Finding ways to continue the bond with the deceased person can help ease grief, such as engaging in activities they used to do, or participating in an event they would have liked – for example, a charity walk.
Going back to work too soon can hamper the bereavement process, although some people find it helpful to keep busy – as long as they don’t push their feelings away and keep them bottled up.
The funeral can be one of the most important parts of the grieving process. The funeral offers a chance to say goodbye while sharing memories, experiences and anecdotes with friends and family – a true celebration of a person important to so many. Funeral directors will take care of the practical arrangements and guide the bereaved through the selection of flowers, music and order of events. It is difficult to make decisions under the weight of grief, and funeral home staff are skilled at assisting during this difficult time.
Grief counselling can help make the bereavement process a bit easier.
Sometimes it is helpful to talk to someone outside the circle of family and friends. A counsellor can help make sense of and help to normalise feelings. In addition, bereavement groups can help one through the process by providing an outlet to talk about difficult feelings, while acting as a social hub for those who have something in common.