What is bereavement?
The word ‘bereavement’ comes from the ancient German for ‘seize by violence’. Sometimes when someone dies, it can feel just like that – like that person has been forcibly taken away. Today the word ‘bereavement’ is used to describe the period of grief and mourning we go through after someone close to us dies.
When someone you care about suddenly leaves your life, it’s not a case of taking time out to recover. ‘Recovery’ suggests that you will emerge exactly the same as you were before. In reality, all of your experiences shape the person you are and experiencing the death of someone you care about often has the biggest impact. Bereavement is about trying to accept what happened, learning to adjust to life without that person and finding a place to keep their memory alive while you try to get along as best you can.
Stages of grief can include…
- Acceptance: accepting that the loss has really happened. Even when prepared it is still a shock, without acceptance you may never really grieve.
- Experiencing the pain that comes with grief: including sorrow, longing (to see them), guilt, numbness, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, despair.
- Adjusting to life without the person who died: allow yourself to accept and release all the emotions, you will adjust to your new life.
- Putting less emotional energy into the loss and more into your new place in life: you will always remember the person who dies and may grieve their loss forever, however you will naturally “move on” – you have found a way to cope in your new place in life.
You may …
- Feel knocked off your feet by the emotions you are feeling.
- Want to stay in bed all day.
- Neglect yourself (health and appearance)
- Not eat properly.
- Not want to go on without your loved one Take it out on others.
This is all normal unless it continues for a long time. It may be time to look for support if this goes on for extended periods or:
- You begin to drink a lot.
- You begin to take illegal drugs.
- You are having suicidal thoughts
- You are behaving violently
As a grief and bereavement counsellor I will be able to help you to…
- Understand the mourning process
- Explore any areas that may be preventing you from moving on.
- Resolve any remaining conflicts.
- Function normally again – however long it takes.