Living with your grief
Helping a friend in their grief
Every person’s grief is unique and their response to death can be different.
Immediately following the death of a loved one, you can experience a bewildering range of emotions such as disbelief, distress, shock, loss of self-esteem and confidence, relief, guilt, laughter, anguish and anger. Physical symptoms of grief such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite, numbness, disorientation, nausea or chest pain may also occur, this is normal.
Bereavement is something that needs to be experienced and gradually reconciled over time. It is very normal to feel as if you are on a roller-coaster of emotional ups and downs. There are no shortcuts to avoid or get through grief.
The months following a death can be a difficult and emotional time. Even though the feelings of disbelief may have faded and support from family and friends has become less apparent, your sense of loss, loneliness and grief can still be quite profound. There is no fixed time frame for when you will recover. Life has changed and will not feel the same again.
Take the time that you need, to heal. Do as much or as little as you feel you are able to each day while you readjust to life. Talk to your friends, speak about your feelings, say ‘their name’, tell stories, cry, laugh. Be patient and kind to yourself as you would to a friend of yours. Ask your friends to just listen. And they may need to keep listening for a long time.
The value of a funeral
The holding of a funeral today is probably more important than ever before.
Although death will inevitably come to us all, in today’s world it is a subject rarely discussed and consequently not well understood. This makes it difficult for us to cope when it occurs.
Our modern society has trivialised or removed death from our everyday lives and made the experience of dying more and more alien to us. We do not know what to expect, how to deal with our fears, feelings and hesitancies, or bring comfort to either the dying of the bereaved.
Funerals are a way of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone we love.
It is a way in which we can say goodbye and commemorate their life in a meaningful ceremony.
- Help us acknowledge that someone we love has died
- Help us remember the person who has died and to share these memories
- Affirms the value of our relationship with the deceased
- Provide a support system for the family and friends
- Allows us to search for a meaning of life and death
Offer hope for the living The funeral can be the single most important external avenue through which people can give expression to their grief and hopefully take that vital next step to emotional and psychological recovery.