Bereavement affects people in different ways
There’s no right or wrong way to feel. You might feel a lot of emotions at once, or feel you’re having a good day, then you wake up and feel worse again.
Experts generally accept that there are four stages of bereavement
- accepting that your loss is real
- experiencing the pain of grief
- adjusting to life without that person
- putting less emotional energy into grieving, and putting it into something new – in other words, moving on
You may go through all these stages but won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next. Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control. Give yourself time, these feelings will pass, mourning is a process with an ending.
Symptoms may include
- shock and numbness
- overwhelming sadness
- tiredness or exhaustion
- anger (towards the person who died, or towards their illness or God)
- guilt (about feeling angry, guilt about something you said or didn’t say, or guilt about not being able to stop your loved one dying)
- feeling you can’t go on without the person you’ve lost
- the emotion is so intense it’s affecting the rest of your life, e.g. you can’t face going to work, or you’re taking your anger out on someone else
Physical pain may include
- Tightness in the body
Coping with grief
Talking and sharing ones feelings can help. For some people, relying on family and friends is the best way, for others it is seeking professional one to one counselling. A bereavement counsellor can offer time and space to talk about your feelings, including the person who has died, your relationship, family, work, fears, and the future.
Help and support
If these things last for a period that you feel is too long, or your family say they’re worried, that’s the time to seek help.