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.

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