West Sussex County Times

Help during life’s most difficult time

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The loss of a loved one is life’s most stressful event and can cause major emotional crisis. After the death of someone you love, you may experience a wide range of emotions, even when the death is expected.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve – but there are healthy ways to cope with your loss. These feelings are normal and common reactions when someone close passes away.

You may not be prepared for the intensity and duration of your emotions or how swiftly your moods may change.

You may even begin to doubt the stability of your mental health. But be assured that these feelings are healthy and appropriat­e and will help you to come to terms with your loss.

Some emotions you may experience include :

Denial l

Disbelief l

Confusion l

Shock l

Sadness l

Yearning l

Anger l

Humiliatio­n l

Despair l

Guilt l However, when someone dies there there are many decisions and arrangemen­ts that have to be made, all of which can be difficult in a time of grief.

ARRANGING THE FUNERAL A funeral can be either by burial or by cremation and can take many different forms.

It may include a religious service which either preceeds or follows the committal.

You can organise it with or without the help of a funeral director, and personalis­e it as much as you wish. In some cases the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance.

Many people choose to use a profession­al funeral director - they will ensure that the deceased is dealt with in a diginified way. A funeral director can:

Make all the funeral l arrangemen­ts

Arrange for a notice in l the newspaper

Provide staff and a l suitable coffin, move the deceased from where they died to the funeral director’s premisies

Look after the deceased l before the funeral

Provide a hearse to the l cemetery or crematoriu­m

FINDING SUPPORT

The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people.

Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry.

Wherever the support comes from – whether it be friends, family or from a profession­al help – accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.

Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you and accept the assistance that’s offered.

Often, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need - whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangemen­ts.

If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort it’s mourning rituals can provide.

If you’re questionin­g your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.

Your family doctor or a spiritual adviser can be an invaluable source of informatio­n about local support groups and bereavemen­t counsellin­g.

Alternativ­ely, details of national organisati­ons such as Cruse (www.cruse. org.uk), Macmillan (www. macmillan.org.uk) and the Samaritans (www. samaritans.org) are freely available on the internet.

The aim of all bereavemen­t counsellin­g is to move the grieving person towards a point at which they are able to function normally again, and focus on other things while rememberin­g the person they have lost without undue distress.

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