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How to Cope with Bereavement/Loss

If you have recently lost a loved one or a close friend, then you will know what it feels like to suffer a bereavement.  You may also be going through the process of a divorce, this too can feel like a bereavement.  The difference is, that when you decide to end your marriage, your estranged partner is still alive.  However, with a bereavement, the hardest thing you have to come to terms with, is dealing with the void you now have in your life.  Read on to find out how to deal with the symptoms of bereavement/loss and how you can get the support you need........................

When we lose someone we dearly love, our minds can react and respond in so many unexpected and disturbing ways.  You need to know that these responses/reactions are temporary and they will pass in time.  You may experience:-

These reactions are quite natural and you need not worry about having them, no matter how disturbing the may make you feel.  They are all part of the grieving process and recognising them for what they are can help you gradually come to terms with your loss.

Behaviour:

It is not unusual for a bereaved person to behave in an unusual, out-of-character ways.  This is simply a response to our feelings of loss.  In time one's behaviour returns to normal.  We may behave in all or some of these ways:-

Individual reactions to loss are hard to predict, but it is important to acknowledge that no matter what kind of behaviour is expressed, it is not right or wrong.  Also, not everyone has has suffered a bereavement will react in the same way.

Relationships:

Many people find that after suffering a bereavement some of their relationships start to change.  Friends don't always know what to say or how to say the 'right thing', and so often some friendships/relationships can come to a sudden end.  We sometimes lose touch with friends and if you are a grandparent, you may find you start to invest more time and energy in your grandchildren.  Also, we can sometimes be surprised to find that the friends we may not have heard from, for some time, suddenly appear, and friendships are re-kindled.

Practical Issues:

As well as the emotional experience of loss, you may have to face altered practical and personal circumstances.  The loss of a spouse or partner might mean the loss of an income, or worst still, the loss of one's home.  We can often find it extremely difficult to cope with the loss of a spouse or partner who provided us with moral and emotional support.

However, there maybe some potential gains.  You may receive insurance money or a widow's pension.  You may enjoy increased freedom and independence, a new social life and more hobbies.  These positive aspects of bereavement and loss are nothing to feel guilty about, after all, life does go on, and any positive changes may help you to come to terms with your loss.

Ways of Coping:

By noticing the way you are coping with your loss, may assist you in the process of grieving.  It is important to remember that 'Grief' is a positive response which enables us to cope with our loss.  It is very important that we try not to surpress our feelings, or refuse to acknoweldge them at all.  Keeping yourself busy can be useful, but if you choose to ignore your feelings or refuse to relinquish emotional reactions to triggers that remind you of your loved one, then sooner or later, your general health will start to become affected.

To cope with loss you may find the following useful:-

Be Active:

By continuing with your usual activities you are accepting that life goes on. However, try not to be over-active, since this can prevent you from recognising your feelings.

Seek support from others, such as family, friends and your local church or a support group.  Talk about your thoughts and feelings, and if you find that you are struggling to talk to someone close to you, then seek the help of a bereavement counsellor.  Shutting out your thoughts or denying them prolongs the pain.

Allow yourself some time in privacy and always put your own needs first.

Acknowledge the reality - the funeral can be a very positive experience because it is a public acknowledgement of the reality of death.  This is part of the grieving process.

Remember the real character of the deceased and try not to put him/her on a pedestal, after all, no-one is perfect.  Remembering someone's faults as well as their good points allows you to come to terms with reality.

Finally, remember that time is the greatest healer.  Shortly after your loss, you may feel like you will never come to terms with it.  However, the first year is always the worst.  Getting through birthday's, anniversaries, Christmas and holidays is the most challenging part, but once you have got through those times, it can get a little easier.  One day, you may just suddenly realised that you have not cried for a few days, or you may not have thought about the deceased for a couple of days.  Again, don't feel guilty, this is a good sign, that you are starting to accept the loss and move on.   Your loss will always be with you, but the pain will start to subside.  Eventually, you will remember the deceased with happiness.

If your partnership has been ended through divorce, then harbouring feelings of resentment neither helps you or your ex-partner.  It is important to seek help to explore your feelings and let go of any bittnerness and resentment.

If you would like a confidential space to talk openly about your feelings, then contact me through my website or by calling me on 07886 198 293 and I will be happy to arrange a suitable appointment for you.

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