Have you experienced a loss or bereavement recently, or know someone who has.? A beloved friend or relative? A parent or child? We can feel lost and not know how to express our condolences when we meet someone who has recently experienced a bereavement. It can help to talk.
I provide bereavement counselling as part of my therapy practice. In this post I wanted to provide some information on what you might experience if you are the person who has experienced the loss. I also though it might be helpful if you know someone who is going through this experience.
When someone you know has recently died the world can suddenly be a very confusing and difficult place. You might find that you cannot stop thinking about the person who has gone. Eating and sleeping may be difficult. You might feel exhausted one minute and restless and agitated the next. You may think you should be coping better and be worried that you are not.
Thoughts, Feelings and Physical Sensations
It is quite normal to experience feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and helplessness when someone you know has died. Along with these feelings people often find themselves experiencing anxiety, loneliness and fatigue. Sometimes the experience of losing someone can be shocking and traumatic so that the person may feel numb.
You may also find yourself feeling confused, being unable to believe the person is dead, or alternatively find yourself feeling a sense of their presence or hallucinations. Repetitive and intrusive thoughts about the person and the way they died are also very common.
Difficulties with eating or sleeping and feeling restless are also normal, along with other physical symptoms such as a lack of energy, muscle weakness, tightness in the chest, hollowness in the stomach, dry mouth and sensitivity to noise.
All of these thoughts, feelings and sensations are normal part of the grieving process. Experiencing bereavement can be very difficult. Each person’s response will be different, each person mourns in a different way. Although it is a cliché time will bring relief from the intensity of the feeling.
There is no time limit to the grieving process. William Worden writes of there being tasks of mourning. The first being begin to accept the reality of the person’s death – that the person you knew is gone and will not return.
The second task is to work through the pain of the grief. Even though it may feel incredibly painful over time it is important to allow yourself time to think and feel about the death, to recognise and experience your feelings which will allow you to move forward.
The third task is to adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing. This is not about “getting over” or replacing but about adjustment to the changes in the person’s daily life.
Finally the last task is to find an enduring connection to the deceased while moving on with a new life.
Anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays important events will most likely be a time of remembrance and sadness. Moving on with a new life does not mean forgetting – it mean being able to engage with living again and a moderation of the grief from it’s raw intensity.
Bereavement Counselling Wilmslow
I provide bereavement counselling in Wilmslow and in working with people I know that support through this painful process is very important. For many people having family and friends available can be support enough. Not everyone has this though and some deaths are difficult, possibly very unexpected, traumatic or difficult in some way. In these situations it can helpful to talk to a counsellor or therapist to help the person move through the grieving process.