Understanding bereavement and grief
Grief is a natural process of reaction and adjustment to loss and change. When we lose someone or something that is important to us, we grieve.
What to expect
Grief does not happen in a set way. It is not like having the flu, where you feel very ill and then begin to feel a bit better until you finally return to being your old self again. The feelings and thoughts of grief come and go in waves. Sometimes you might feel you are coping quite well, only to experience a burst of grief when you are reminded of your loss. It can be confusing to suddenly feel angry, for example, if you feel you have already ‘gotten over’ being angry about a loss. It might help to remember that the thoughts and feelings will come and go as you try to come to terms with grief while living your day-to-day life.
There are many parts to grief you may not have expected. You may have physical symptoms, for example, feeling tired or unable to eat. You may struggle with questions about the meaning of life, your faith and your beliefs about what happens after death.
- Grief is a process and it takes time.
- Everyone’s grief is different.
- There is no right way to grieve.
- Strong emotions and thoughts are part of grief.
Grief is a normal but challenging part of life. There are different levels of bereavement care, which you can see here. A majority of people will only need general support and information to help with their loss. Here are more tips for dealing with your grief:
- Seek out accurate information about grief and loss.
- Be patient and gentle with yourself as you grieve.
- Recognise the extent of your loss.
- Allow yourself to cope and to grieve in a way that suits you.
- Try to sleep well, eat well, and take gentle exercise.
- Try not to make major or rash decisions while you grieve.
- Accept emotional and practical support from friends and family.
- Talk to your GP if you feel you need further support.