Are you struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one? Was it sudden and unexpected, leaving you with things left unsaid or unresolved feelings? Or were there issues in your relationship, so the only thing you felt when they died was an enormous sense of release?
Whether it’s a close family member, partner or friend, it’s important for you to know that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Essentially, we all deal with bereavement differently and that’s ok. Some people might want to talk about it, whilst others prefer to shut themselves away. And there is also no time limit on grief, it takes as long as it takes to process the loss and start to build yourself back up.
However, in a year where we have all been surrounded by death to some extent, my advice would be to talk about it, rather than bottling it up. If you keep all your feelings hidden, it can be toxic, damage any current relationships you have and cause anxiety, as well as severe and ongoing mental and physical health conditions. What’s important is that you learn to manage your emotions and that’s where I can help.
Range of emotions
When someone dies, there are a range of emotions that we feel. As well as shock, sadness and plenty of crying, there is tiredness, anger and guilt. These can appear unexpectedly and sometimes you don’t attribute these powerful feelings to the grief and loss you are feeling.
It’s also completely normal to find it difficult to adjust to your old life, as grief can shake everything up – your beliefs, your routines and even your sense of normality. However, it’s important that you feel understood and supported by those close to you and that you are allowed space and time to move through the stages of bereavement.
Stages of bereavement
Therapy aims to help people find a place for their loss so they can carry on with life and eventually find acceptance. Tears are an important part of grieving; you should be proud of them. Not only can crying help you in the healing process, those who can’t or avoid crying when they lose someone they love are often suppressing emotions that eventually will leave them more vulnerable to health problems. Stored emotions don’t go away, but that’s a whole different subject for another article – look out for it.
When grieving you may find yourself caught up in a cocktail of emotions. It’s natural. Generally we all go through the different stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression until finally we reach acceptance. It’s worth remembering that not everyone goes through all of them in a prescribed order or for the same length of time. As you work through each of these stages, you’ll become better equipped to cope with life, loss and make the wound more bearable.
Your grief is as unique as you are
After the death of a loved one, the time it takes for you to show signs of grieving could be hours, days or years. Recently I worked with someone who had lost her mum 26 years previously. At that time, she had a young family and openly admitted that she didn’t give herself time to grieve. It was the trigger of her sons leaving home that prompted those supressed emotions to surface and she finally allowed herself to mourn the loss of her mum.
Loss of my brother
My eldest brother died in a motorbike accident four days before he turned 20, I was 10 at the time. Nobody in my family spoke about him to the point that I believed he was still alive and would walk through the door any moment. It wasn’t until my next brother was terminally ill, 21 years later that I first heard my mother talk about her eldest son.
With so many people having lost family and friends through Covid and other reasons, it’s vitally important to keep talking, even if you do get upset. So many people avoid discussing lost friends and family for fear of upsetting other others, and in my experience people who are grieving tell me that the worse thing someone can do is say nothing.
If you need additional help and support so you face up to a recent bereavement and start to enjoy positive relationships again, call Carla Devereux on 0121 745 9044 to book an appointment.