When someone we love has died, we can feel overwhelmed by our painful feelings. How can life ever be normal again without that special person? There is no one right way to grieve. We react as individuals.


At first it can be hard to believe what has happened. You may feel shocked and numb.You may expect them to return at any moment . It can take some time for the full reality to sink in. You dont want to believe that they have died.


Grief is time consuming and exhausting. You may feel tired and lethargic, unable to make decisions, to concentrate, or get on with the things that you think you ought to do. Be patient with yourself. Let go of the ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ for a while. You may need extra time off work and your doctor can sign you off sick. Other people find going back to work and getting back into a routine helps. Do what feels best for you. Things may seem pointless, your perspective on life changes.


You may feel guilty, panicky, angry. The slightest thing may lead to tears, others find they cannot cry. Many people find it helps to talk , to find a sympathetic listener, tell your story and talk about your feelings over and over again. Sometimes though, this may seem just to painful and difficult. Again, do what seems best for you at the time.


Some people may expect you to be back to normal very quickly and others wont know what to say and may try to avoid you. Don’t be afraid of letting your friends and family know what helps you,that you will need their comfort and support for a long time.


Grieving is not easy or staright-forward and those we expect to support us sometimes cannot.


Some people feel despair and depression and lose interest in normal activities, which for a while may seem pointless. This is normal. Give yourself time. Allow yourself to grieve, but also recognise that it’s ok to have a break from grieving. Slowly your energy will return and you will feel like enjoying yourself again. You may find that you have good days where you can get on with living, followed by bad days when you dont want to do anything.


Bereavement can be like undertaking a long and difficult journey- painful and lonely. Over a period of time (different for different people) the painful memories will soften and become easier. The comforting memories will return. Sorrow remains but gradually you will find your way of coping with what has happened and learn a new way of living.


Grief and Family Life


Your grief affects those close to you. They may not know how to be when they are with you and may find it hard to listen to you. Remember that they are affected too and and may not be able to give you what you need. Everyone within a family grieves in different ways. Some may want to talk, others may find it too painful or too difficult. Some want to sit and cry ,others may want to get on and get things done. We all have different coping strategies, such as watching television, listening to music, exercise, going out with friends, cleaning the house, not cleaning the house etc… some want company while others may want to be alone.


It can be very hard to see people we love and our children hurting. We want to make it better, protect each other from pain. We can’t. Children as well as adults need to be allowed to grieve and we may have to teach them how. If we can share our feelings with them they learn that their feelings, which may be confusing and frightening are normal.