Death is a taboo subject, even today in our modern lives we still find it hard to speak about something that we will all go through. Harmony funeral care is more than just your average funeral directors, we have worked closely with bereavement counsellors to unsure we can provide professional help and guidance to families going through difficult times, whether that is coping with a shock death or losing someone at a young age. In this section we try to answer some of your questions, alternatively we are always only one phone call away if you ever feel the need to speak to someone.
Coping with losing a loved one
Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can renew you and permit you to move on.
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried, and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up.
The five stages of grief:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages, and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal; In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in.
Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said of the five stages of grief: “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”
Coping with grief and loss tip 1: Get support The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.
- Support Groups
- Therapist or counsellor
Coping with grief and loss tip 2: Take care of yourself
When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.
- Face you feelings
- Express your feelings
- Look after your physical health
- Don’t let others or yourself to tell you how you should be feeling
- Plan ahead
The difference between grief and depression
Distinguishing between grief and clinical depression isn’t always easy as they share many symptoms, but there are ways to tell the difference. Remember, grief can be a roller coaster. It involves a wide variety of emotions and a mix of good and bad days. Even when you’re in the middle of the grieving process, you will have moments of pleasure or happiness. With depression, on the other hand, the feelings of emptiness and despair are constant.
Common symptoms of grief
While loss affects people in different ways, many experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal—including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.
Shock and disbelief Sadness Guilt Anger Fear Physical - fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
Helping Friends through bereavement
When someone we know experiences a bereavement we naturally want to help them but it can often be difficult to know what to do. We offer advice about how to help friends or relatives who are grieving.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Get in touch – As soon as you hear of the death call or visit them, it helps to hear or see a friendly face who can help.
- Using the right words – do not be afraid if you can find the right words, sometimes we don’t need words, what about a hug or maybe a handshake, these signs of affection of a long way.
- After the funeral – stay in touch; continue to be there for them when they need you.
- Visiting – by visiting you can help do some of the jobs to help them relax, ironing, washing up, it can be anything just to lighten the load.
- Sensitive – be sensitive to their feelings and reassure them that it’s ok for them to cry or show emotional signs of grieving and help them along the journey of grief.
- The future – Help them socialise again, set new goals, and help them find new interests.
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse can help anyone who has lost someone they love.
Helpline: 0844 477 9400
Young persons helpline: 0808 808 1677
Write to: Cruse Bereavement Care, PO Box 800,
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1RG
Death of a child
The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends offers help for parents whose children have died. Helpline: 0845 123 2304 Website: www.tcf.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write to: The Compassionate Friends, 53 North Street, Bristol BS3 1EN
Mental Health Foundation
Sea Containers House
20 Upper Ground
London SE1 9QB
Phone: 020 7803 1100