Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but it can be devastating in its intensity
Shock – this may last for a long time as the loss takes time to sink in. Feelings of numbness are common and perfectly normal. Some people find it easier to carry on as if nothing has happened; this again is ok as there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We are all different and will have different coping mechanisms. There can also be feelings of disorientation – life has been tipped upside down and they are now in a different world.
Pain – Intense feelings of pain and distress, these can feel completely overwhelming and frightening in their strength. Some people often describe this as feeling of having a part of them ripped out.
Death of a loved one can sometimes feel cruel and unfair for those who survive them
Anger – This is a normal and natural emotion to feel and is a typical emotion of the grieving process. Death of a loved one can sometimes feel cruel and unfair to those who survive them. This is exacerbated by people dying before what is perceived as their time or if there are plans in place which will not come to fruition. This anger is sometimes aimed at the person who has died or at ourselves for opportunities missed and words left unsaid.
Guilt – This is also a natural and normal emotional reaction. We can often feel either directly or indirectly responsible for the person’s death. Guilt may also be present if there was a particularly difficult relationship with the person who has died or you may feel that you did not do enough to help them when they were alive.
Feelings of numbness are common and perfectly normal. Some people find it easier to carry on as if nothing has happened
Many bereaved people experience feelings of depression following the death of a loved one or someone close
Depression – Many bereaved people experience feelings of depression following the death of a loved one or someone close. It can feel like life no longer has any meaning and its common that some people say that want to die too.
Longing – Often bereaved people experience seeing or hearing someone who has died and this can happen when it is least expected. You may find yourself ruminating over the events leading to the death. These experiences are all typical and common. This is seen as the brain trying to process what has happened and formulate some form of acknowledgement of the finality of the loss.
Other people’s reactions – This is often one of the hardest things bereaved people face. This is due to the fact that people often do not know what to say or how to respond to the loss. They may be worried that they will say or do the wrong thing and this may lead to friends and family avoiding a bereaved person. This can be very isolating as the bereaved person may want to talk about the person who has died, especially as time goes on and other people’s memories fade of the person who has died.
Common issues when suffering loss of a family member
- Loss of identity – especially if it is a spouse or partner, once seen as a couple
- Loss of status – if the person whom has died held a position of status
- Loss of income – leading to potential financial difficulties
- Isolation – as a result of the above