Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Tips For Helping You Cope With A Bereavement

When somebody close to us passes, we can experience a wide range of emotions, some of which are unexpected, and it can knock us in a complete spin.   All of these emotions, from deep grief to fury, relief to sorrow, are healthy and valid.

If you have recently lost a loved one and are worried about how you will get through the next few days, weeks, months, and years, here are some coping strategies that may help you through the grieving process.


How might you feel in the early days?

There are no right or wrong responses here, and everyone will have a different reaction. The following emotions and experiences, on the other hand, are entirely natural. Don't be concerned if you don't feel all of them or even some of them. Your feelings are valid, whatever they are.

Numb and in shock

When you learn of the death of someone you truly care about, especially if the death was sudden, it can be difficult to take in and digest the information, thus feeling numb and in shock is typical. Your brain sometimes takes a while to process the information, so you may feel like you are waiting for them to walk through the door or phone you as normal. While it does not sound helpful, feeling numb to start with can almost be a good thing.  If you are engaged in making funeral plans, such as where the funeral will take place, any hymns or music, flowers, and planning a wake, feeling numb surrounding the death itself can help you to focus on making these decisions.

Sudden swings in mood

You may find yourself bouncing between emotions quite quickly and unexpectedly, sometimes feeling multiple different emotions all at once. It might be taxing and make you feel as if you are going mad. But don't panic; this turbulence will pass, and your emotions, although not disappearing, will begin to smooth out.

You might find that you have unhelpful advice and well-meaning but insensitive comments to deal with. 

Most people who are grieving the loss of a loved one have to deal with well-meaning but useless and often very insensitive and upsetting advice and comments from others. Many people simply do not know what to say or do not know how to act - not because they wish to be unkind, but because even now, no one quite knows how to talk about death and our responses to it. 

Things you can do after the death of a loved one

Allow yourself to feel the emotions

It is okay to let yourself feel the emotions. If you feel like you need to cry, cry. If you want to shout and scream, or laugh or smile, do it. it is normal to feel guilty for your feelings, but it is also fine to feel them too - and try not to let anyone make you feel bad for how you choose to react.

It is helpful to discover ways to deal with this complex combination of emotions. If you can, speak with someone who knows what you are going through, whether it is a member of the family or a friend, someone in a support group, or a counselor or therapist. Try to get as much sleep as possible, exercise on a regular basis, and eat healthily. Some people believe that journaling, playing music, or painting and drawing are helpful outlets for their feelings.

Be kind to yourself

Grief does not go away in a matter of weeks, months, or even years. It can last a lifetime for some people. Don't worry about setting time limits or schedules for yourself, and allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve.

Build some new memories

You may never completely erase the sadness that you feel following the death of a loved one, but you can work towards creating new memories and stories to carry with you as you begin to go on with your life without them. It has been said that the best way to remember someone who has passed away is to create new memories in their honor.

 If they had always enjoyed going to a certain place or if they had always wanted to travel somewhere but have never gotten around to it, why not take a vacation there and build some memories in their memory? You could also look at commissioning cremation jewelry pendants for ashes, so that they can be with you wherever you are.

The practicalities after a death

This is dependent on your relationship with the deceased and your level of culpability. Assuming you are next of kin and are in charge of the practical arrangements, here are some of the things that you might need to do. 

Let family and friends know

Previously, the deceased person’s relatives would have an obituary or death announcement printed in the local paper. It is becoming more typical these days for folks to post it on social media or to send an email or text message to others informing them of the tragic news.

Let the relevant people and authorities know

Friends and family are not the only people who need to know. Sadly, one thing that always needs to be done is the formal registration of the death in order to obtain a certificate. After you have this, it is time to let workplaces, mortgage providers or landlords, insurers, banks, pension providers and so on know that the person is no longer alive. This is not an easy thing to do, and many organizations make it complicated, so have someone around to support you if possible.

Think about the funeral

This is your chance to say goodbye to the person and arrange a send-off that you know that they would have loved. Will you choose a burial or a cremation? What music will you have and flowers? Will you have a party or a gathering afterward to celebrate their life?

Coping with a bereavement is difficult, but these tips may help it feel just that little bit easier. 

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