Advice

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.  

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Faith
  • 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.  

Useful Links

Bereavement support

Cruse Bereavement Care 

Cruse can help anyone who has lost someone they love.

Helpline: 0844 477 9400

Young persons helpline: 0808 808 1677

Website: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

Email: helpline@cruse.org.uk

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: helpline@tcf.org.uk Write to: The Compassionate Friends, 53 North Street, Bristol BS3 1EN

Suicide

Mental Health Foundation

9th Floor
Sea Containers House
20 Upper Ground
London SE1 9QB
Phone: 020 7803 1100
Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Violent death

Victim Support

Hallam House, 56-60 Hallam Street,
London W1W 6JL
Supportline: 0845 30 30 900
Website: www.victimsupport.com
Email: supportline@victimsupport.org.uk

Our Terms of Business

1 Estimates and Expenses

Our price list sets out the services we agree to supply. This is an indication of the charges likely to be incurred on the basis of the information and details we know at the current time. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our price list, the charges are liable to alteration particularly where third parties change their rates or charges. We may not know the amount of third party charges in advance of the funeral; however, we will give you a best estimate of such charges. The actual amount of the charges will be detailed and shown in the final invoice. If you amend your instructions we will require your written confirmation of the changes. We may need to make an extra charge in accordance with prices published in our current price list. We will add VAT to our charges, where applicable, and at the rate applicable when we prepare the invoice.

2 Payment Arrangements

The funeral account is due for payment at least 48 hours prior to the funeral taking place, unless otherwise agreed by us in writing. If you fail to pay us in full on the due date we will charge a late payment fee of £250 and may charge you interest:

We may recover (under Clause 3) the cost of taking legal action to make you pay.

3 Indemnity

You are to indemnify us in full and hold us harmless from all expenses and liabilities we may incur (directly or indirectly including financing costs and including legal costs on a full indemnity basis) following any breach by you of any of your obligations under these Terms. This means that you are liable to us for losses we incur because you do not comply with these Terms. For example, we will charge you an administration fee where we receive a cheque from you which is subsequently not honoured or if we write to remind you that an account is overdue. If we instruct debt collection agents we may also recover from you the fees we incur. Further details regarding these fees are available on request. We may claim those losses from you at any time and, if we have to take legal action, we will ask the Court to make you pay our legal costs.

4 Data Protection

Words shown in italics are defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the Act”). We respect the confidential nature of the information given to us and, where you provide us with personal data (“data”), we will ensure that the data will be held securely, in confidence and processed for the purpose of carrying out our services. In order to provide our services we may need to pass such data to third parties and those third parties, who are performing some of the services for you, may contact you directly. Under the Act you have the right to know what data we hold on you and you can, by applying to us in writing and paying a fee, receive copies of that data.

5 Cooling-Off Period

The Cancellation of Consumer Contracts made in the Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 may give you the right to terminate this agreement in the cooling-off period of seven days. If you wish the performance of the agreement to which this right applies to commence before the end of the cooling-off period, you must sign the authority in the form which will be handed to you. In the event that you exercise the right to cancel this contract during the cooling-off period, you will be required to pay a reasonable amount for goods and services already supplied.

6 Termination

This agreement may also be terminated before the services are delivered: (1) by us if you fail to honour your obligations under these Terms and (2) by you communicating to us in writing, terminating your instructions. If we or you terminate your instructions you may, depending upon the reasons for termination, be asked to pay a reasonable amount based upon the work carried out up to the time your termination is received.

7 Standards of Service

We strive to provide a high quality service in all aspects. If you have any questions or concerns about the service we provide to you, please raise them in the first instance with our designated senior person.

All dates and times provided on the estimate cannot be guaranteed until final bookings are made and confirmed. Although we endeavour to provide a prompt and efficient service for you, there may be instances where, because of circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to fulfil our obligations to you on the date or time specified. Where this is the case we will attempt to contact you in advance, using the details you have provided, and advise you of alternative arrangements.

8 Agreement

Your continuing instructions will amount to your continuing acceptance of these Terms of Business. Your instructions will not create any right enforceable (by virtue of the Contracts Rights of Third Parties Act 1999) by any person not identified as our client. If any of these terms are unenforceable as drafted:-

Nothing in these Terms restricts or limits our liability for death or personal injury. This agreement is subject to English Law. If you decide to commence legal action, you may do so, in any appropriate UK Court.

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