Coping with bereavement

For most of us, losing a loved one can be devastating and lonely. Grief is what you will normally experience when somebody you are close to dies and it affects people in different ways.

What is bereavement and grief?

Bereavement is what a person goes through when someone close to them passes away. It’s the state of having suffered a loss. The person who has lost someone is said to be bereaved.

When someone close to you passes away, you go through a normal process called grieving. Grieving is normal after any form of loss, but is most powerful when someone we love dies.

Grief is a very individual thing and there is no right or wrong way to react. But there are some common feelings people experience including anger, shock, guilt, sadness and depression, emptiness and acceptance.

Grieving involves many different emotions, actions, and expressions, all of which help the person come to terms with the loss of a loved one. But remember, grief doesn’t look the same for everyone and every loss is different.

The grieving process

Some people say grief comes in different stages, but many people often feel that they go back and forth and not really moving forward. This can be a way of coping, and over time you will start to feel less overwhelmed.

How long does grief last?

Grieving is a very individual thing and how long people grieve for varies. It may go on for months or years but the intensity of it won’t always be so strong. It is also perfectly normal for strong emotions to surface on anniversaries such as the first birthday or Christmas after the death of a loved one. You need to find your own way to deal with this in the right way for you.

Coping techniques

After experiencing a bereavement it’s important that you don’t force yourself to feel better and you give yourself time to come to terms with your loss. The first step forward is to acknowledge you are grieving and allow yourself to feel the way you do. Here are some suggestions which may help:

  • Allow yourself time for your thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Don’t be afraid to cry. It is an important part of grief and will give you a release
  • Take care of yourself – eat well, get plenty of rest and some exercise
  • Write down how you are feeling
  • Some people find it helps to go to a support group and talk to others who have been through a similar thing
  • Be patient with yourself

If you feel like everything is getting too much, visit your GP as they may be able to refer you to a grief counsellor.

However, there are also lots of specialist support organisations out there who can offer advice following a bereavement.

Help and support

Many people get through a time of bereavement using their family and friends and do not need other help. However, for those in need of specialist support and advice, there are lots of great organisations to help you cope with the loss of a loved one, manage grief and be a source of practical information.

For emotional support after losing a loved one, our dedicated Care Line is a, 24-hour, freephone service available 365-days a year to help support anyone affected by a diagnosis of a blood cancer.

Here are some other services, which you may find useful:

Macmillan

Macmillan offers a vast amount of information and support on bereavement. You can also join a bereavement support group through their Online Community.

For more information, check out the website or contact them on 0808 808 0000.

NHS

NHS provides lots of key information on bereavement as well as offering care and support. NHS effectively signpost to other organisations and specialists in their respective fields.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care provides support to anyone after the death of someone close. They offer support in many forms:

  • Telephone support
  • Face-to-face support
  • Support for children and young people
  • Publications
  • Bereavement Care Journal

For more information, check out the website or contact them on 0844 477 9400.

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK believes that all families should have access to the support and information they need when a child grieves or when a child passes away. There aim is to work alongside trained professionals to help families learn to live with their grief and begin rebuilding their lives.

For more information, check out the website or contact them on 0800 0288 840.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie provides care and support to everyone affected by terminal illness. They have recently published a 120-page guide, ‘When someone dies’, covering all the emotional and practical aspects of bereavement.

Download the document here.

For more information, check out their website, contact them on 0800 090 2309 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or share your experience and find support by talking to people in a similar situation at community.mariecurie.org.uk.

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service provides free impartial money advice. Included on their website is information on what you do when someone passes away including funeral costs, pensions, wills and so on. You can find out more here.