Coping with grief
Grief is very personal and you might go through a range of feelings and could sometimes feel overwhelmed. Two key things that can help the most are time and support.
Some people say that when you are grieving, you move through different stages but it might not feel like that to you. It may seem that you switch back and forth between feeling very upset or angry and then feeling better or being able to shut it out by focusing on other things in your life. To face up to your loss and confronting strong feelings about it some of the time, and at other times avoiding thinking too much about it as a way of coping are quite normal.
Below are some of the emotions you may feel;
Following the death of somebody close you might feel numb. Some people feel so shocked that they can’t accept that the person has died at all. They even deny that it is true.
This feeling usually passes as they start to talk to other people about the death.
As the numbness passes, you might feel an overwhelming sense of agitation or longing for the person you have lost. This feeling of missing the person can make it difficult to relax or concentrate.
You might find you dream that the person is still alive. You might even walk into a room and imagine you’ve seen your loved one standing there.
Some people find this disturbing, but others find it comforting. It seems to happen because we want to see the person again so much.
It’s common to feel angry. You might think it unfair that someone close to you has died. This can make you feel very angry with everything and everyone.
It’s not unusual to feel angry with the person who has died for leaving you. Or you could feel angry with other people such as doctors, for not stopping them from dying.
Some people feel guilty, going over in their mind things they would have liked to say or do before the person died.
You might find that you feel guilty that you are still alive, or that you couldn’t prevent the person from dying.
Or you could feel a sense of relief when the person dies, perhaps because they had been very unwell for a long time – and that feeling relieved makes you feel guilty.
It is important to know that feeling guilty is very common and to try not to dwell on it.
To begin with you might have periods of intense sadness, where you deeply miss the person and cry aloud for them.
As time passes, these times might become less frequent. But you may have times of quiet sadness.
Many people can feel very sad for some time after the death of someone close to them. Spending time thinking about the person you have lost can be a quiet but essential part of coming to terms with their death.
Depression is a much more intense feeling. It can stop you being able to relate to things that you previously felt were important. You may feel that you can’t be bothered with everyday things such as eating, sleeping, hygiene, social activities and work.
You might feel as though you have lost a part of yourself. It could feel that there is a big hole in your life, left by the person who has died.
This sense of pain and emptiness can be very intense at the beginning. It might never go away completely. But as time passes you may begin to feel whole again, even though a part of you is missing.
Acceptance doesn’t always mean you will feel happy again. But it does mean you will begin to feel able to cope with the death of your loved one.
Most people who have lost someone close to them say that they never fully get over it. But they find a way to cope with it. And they can enjoy things in their life again and feel that life is worth living.
Hearing this can sometimes be a relief to people who are going through the stormier stages of grief.
You will eventually be able to think about the person who died and it won’t be as painful. Everyone reaches this point at different times. You will start to feel like planning ahead and looking forward to more good times.
This doesn’t mean in any way that you have less feeling for the person who has died. You will always remember and love them for what you shared together.