It’s absolutely vital that when someone has suffered a bereavement, they are able to lean on friends and family for support. Talking is crucial in order to reach out to the healing process. You may feel embarrassed about speaking-out, especially if you have always been quite reserved, but talking is an essential part of the grief process.
It’s ok to ask for help and actually, people will jump at the opportunity to do something for you as they are waiting to assist you in your hour of need. They want to help, so let them. Even though they may not completely understand your grief, just feeling yourself being heard and being able to express your grief, things will start to become a little easier. At the same time, it is ok to ignore the door and have a duvet day now and again. However, if you have too many of these days, people will start to worry. So do make sure you do your utmost to get up and dressed every day, even if it’s the only thing you do.
Friends and family will be desperate to help so allow them to bring dinner over or to take you out for lunch. Cry on their shoulder let, them give you a hug. It’s unhealthy to grieve alone and you will be offering them support too. Don’t ever feel selfish.
How to deal with grief
It’s also really important to allow your feelings to come out. Don’t try and push them down or away. Your stories have to be told; reminisce and remember. Even if you feel as though you are repeating yourself, don’t worry. This is all part of the grieving process which you need to feel and experience. You will probably start off shocked and numb, then move into angry and tired. Just remember that this is all normal; there is nothing wrong with what you are feeling. There is no rush to get to where you believe you should be. Take your time. You may feel that you are dealing with this bereavement in a different way to how you dealt with other losses. That’s irrelevant. You can’t package up your feelings into an off-the-shelf product. What you feel is what you feel. Don’t beat yourself up. If you need time, take more time.
Be selfish and deal with your grief however you see fit. Don’t feel that you have to hold back with your feelings and be brave in front of family and friends because of what they may be going through. You won’t get a badge for bravery. If you are having a bad day, then just tell everyone. There is no point in supressing your feelings like a pressure cooker, waiting to explode at the first opportunity. Everything comes out at some point so it is far better to go through the process and feelings as you trundle along than you keep them hidden and then suffer a large explosion (and breakdown) in the future.
How can I help myself?
On the other hand, you will feel good helping others who are also grieving. Helping others will give you a boost; you won’t feel so alone. Take the time to listen as you help others, including any children who are trying to come to terms with their feelings around what has happened for the very first time. Grief can tear a family or friendship apart as it is a time of anxiety, anger, resentment and shock. Be aware of others feelings and handle everyone with caution. The slightest thing can cause a potential spark.
Trying to stick to some kind of routine is crucial; getting up, having breakfast, having a shower, getting dressed, walking the dog, washing up.. these tasks, however mundane they may seem, keep you conscious and they stop you from falling into a cycle of not getting dressed or even getting out of bed. They pull you along and out of victim mode.
It is ok to give yourself a break from grieving and suggest to your friend that you want to go to the movies. You could try having a decluttering session or weeding the garden, anything which keep you busy. There will be times when you want to escape and those who are close to you will be delighted to hear you asking to go out for dinner or the movies, or sorting out a weekend break away from things. It’s not bad to want to do something different and you are definitely not being disrespectful to the one you lost.
There are always those dates on the calendar which pop up now and again. A birthday or anniversary, christmas day or the anniversary of the day you moved into your house. When those occasions come along, tell people in advance so they give you some extra support on that day. You are not being silly. If something is important to you, then it shouldn’t be hidden. If you are upset, people will know why and can offer support. Don’t spend the day under a grey cloud. Try your best to do something or be with someone and bring your happy memories to the forefront of your mind. Embrace them and if you need to shed a few tears, then so be it.
As you start to heal you may begin to think about what the future holds. Maybe you want to start dating again, retrain, or help others. It’s really important to have some kind of life plan in your head as something to look forward to. It will bring you optimism and hope.
Where can I find bereavement counsellors?
If you need extra help such as counselling or coaching, take a look in The Hug Directory for some support. It’s not the end of the world to ask for some additional assistance. In fact, it shows that you are determined to move on from this time of deep sadness and remember your loved-one with dignity and mindfulness. You will be able to cherish the memories and live a happy and guilt-free life.