to help yourself
disbelief, while the other is experiencing anger over the loss.
All of the feelings we experience during the grieving process have to do with accepting the reality of the loss and saying good-
As well as going through many of the reactions outlined above, you may also experience many other feelings (e.g. panic, relief, fear, self-
It is sometimes very tempting to feel that life would he more bearable if you moved house or quickly disposed of possessions or refused to see people. There is a very common urge to avoid painful things. However, this can make things worse and such decisions must he given great thought. Bereavement is a time of very painful emotions, but it is important to experience these to the full in order to build your life again.
It is not uncommon, as well as feeling mentally taxed, to feel physically run down: to find it difficult to eat, sleep and so on, but eventually these symptoms should fade and disappear. It can also be a very isolating process when you may feel as if no one else could possibly experience what you are going through.
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Many people feel, following a close bereavement, that they would like someone outside their immediate circle of family or close friends, to talk with and confide in. Don't hesitate to approach your GP, your local Bereavement Service, or a Counsellor.
Listen! Listen! Listen! No matter how independent a person is, he or she still needs the support of family and friends.
Provide practical help. Something as simple as a home-
Help a bereaved person to make plans for getting through special occasions such as the first Christmas without his or her spouse. The anniversary of a loss, either a death or a divorce, is also an especially sad time.
There's no question about it, loss is a necessary and painful part of life. But perhaps what matters most is that there are ways in which we can help ourselves and others to say good-
Bereavement and Grief
One of the obvious but often overlooked facts about life is that, at some point, we can likely expect to experience a significant loss. The losses are many and varied. The death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or other love relationship, the loss of a job, all of these are major losses and stressors.
Even those of us who have never experienced a major loss in our lives have experienced minor losses. Loss is the loneliness you felt when you left the security of home for that first day of school. And loss is the disappointment you feel when you reach forty and realize that you're never going to attain those lofty goals to which you aspired in your twenties.
However, grief expresses itself in many different ways, often with powerful, frightening and confusing feelings. It is common for these feelings to ebb and flow over a very long period of time, whilst those around us may say "you should be over this by now". Although no two people's experience will be the same, below are listed some of the common feelings which you may experience at different times in your grief:
The experts tell us that the mourning process is similar for all losses. The difference is degree not kind. The five phases of grief that most people experience when a loved one dies are similar for the ending of a relationship or the loss of a job.
You may find yourself being very calm and rather detached. Conversely you may feel completely at sea. Both are perfectly usual reactions.
Being unable to accept the loss
This often involves what has been called searching behaviour, which means that at some level you are trying to deny that the death has occurred, and in so doing you might find yourself making mistakes, which can he worrying. For example thinking that you have seen or heard the dead person, or laying his/her place at the table. You may even find yourself at odd moments of the day actually looking for him or her. Again this is perfectly usual.
Anger and guilt
You may be wanting to ask the question, Why has this happened? and why has this happened to me? It is common to wish to find blame for it, either in yourself, in others, or even with the person who has died, and this can lead to powerful feelings of anger and guilt (or sometimes both).
Despair and depression
There may be times when you lose all interest in living and feel that there is no point going on. You may even question your own sanity and think that you are going mad. This, though painful, is a common experience.
Usually this occurs with the passage of time and, when the pain has eased somewhat, you may find yourself being able to remember without feeling so overwhelmed. This can be a time for you to begin life again, maybe to renew old interests and take up new pursuits. This might seem disloyal to the person who has died, but what has happened in the past is always a part of you and is not affected by your enjoying the present, or planning for the future.
Long after the loss has occurred, individuals may suddenly react to the loss they felt they had accepted. For example, when a former spouse becomes involved with another person, remarries, or has a child, they may find themselves experiencing any or all of the feelings associated with loss all over again. This can be very confusing and unsettling for the individual. It's important to understand the far-
Although the phases of grief are predictable, the feelings may not be in this exact sequence, and the duration of each can vary from person to person. It's important to realize that everyone in a family may not be experiencing the same feelings at the same time. In other words, grief is an individual process. A couple grieving the death of a child, for instance, may not be in the best position to help and support each other if one is in a state of
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