The loss of a loved one takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions that can be difficult to understand and work through. Whilst coping with loss, you may experience a change in your thinking or behaviour, you may struggle to sleep, and your regular daily habits may be out of sync. Though difficult, these changes are completely natural.
This guide aims to provide help and support when coping with loss and grief. Hopefully, it will help you understand your emotions and the process you are going through, enabling you to take care of yourself and those you love.
Though we are not councillors at Capital Life, we have all experienced grief in some capacity. Therefore, we believe we can share common experiences and recommendations in a hope to encourage discussion and help one another.
What is Grief?
Grief is a natural response to loss. It is generally considered to be an emotional response; however, it can take on many dimensions such as physical, cognitive, or spiritual. It is a personal experience that is influenced by individual circumstance although there are many shared experiences of grief universal to all.
Acknowledging Different Responses and Experiences After Loss
Everyone experiences a different grieving process and there is no right way to grieve. Common symptoms or emotions you may experience include shock, denial, anger, sadness, numbness and mixed feelings.Many experts on bereavement acknowledge that grief is often not a sequential or linear process. In fact, it takes many forms and can come in ‘stages’ or ‘cycles’. Dr. Colin Murray Parkes, who has written extensively on bereavement, proposed that people who have experienced a loss undergo different overlapping phases that are not harnessed by a specific time period. For example, you may experience an amplified yearning for the deceased at certain times of year or if a certain memory is triggered.
The road we journey on after loss may seem long but coping mechanisms can encourage a healthier grieving process. These methods are by no means conclusive or suitable for everyone, but they may offer a strong starting point for coping with grief:
- Be kind to yourself
It is important to acknowledge your pain and accept that grief can trigger different emotions. Try not to punish yourself for feeling a certain way or not healing after a certain period of time.
- Talk to somebody you love and trust
Now is the time to confide in those who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and independent. Keep your loved ones close, spend time with them, and accept their support. Often, people want to be there for you but are unsure of how to help. In this case, tell them you need them.
- Seek comfort from your faith, belief system, or hobby
Routine gives us a meaningful structure to conduct our life by. Getting back to the activities that bring you fulfilment and connect you to like minded people can help you during this time.
- Join a support group
Grief can feel isolating, even when you have people around. Sharing your feelings with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find bereavement support in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counselling centres.
Helping Someone Who is Grieving
It can be difficult to know how to help someone who is grieving. You may not know what to say or you may worry you will say the wrong thing and potentially upset them further.
People who have experienced a loss may also feel quite isolated. The world seems to move on whilst they may feel lost. In this case, simply being present in their lives is reassuring. This means acknowledging their feelings and listening to them.
Further Support from Capital Life
We hope that you have found our guide to grief helpful. As ever, our team of compassionate advisors are here to listen, understand, and advise on more than just the practicalities of funeral plans. If you would like further support through the grieving process, then please do reach out to our bereavement team on 0800 411 8680.