We think we should all know about grief, how it feels to be bereaved, when someone very close to us dies.
But we don't really know until we have experienced a loss and those feelings can, at times, be overwhelming, unpredictable and horrible.
Some will tell you about stages:-
Denial (of the death - disbelief)
Bargaining (if only I'd done something different)
Acceptance (that the death is a reality not that it's ok to forget)
These are typical responses to death but they aren't meant to be stages that happen in order. They may occur, some may not. They might all come in a rush at once. Grief is a complex and individual response to a bereavement and it is different for everyone. Ultimately we can't bypass grief or put it off even if we try.
Even if the death was expected i.e. through illness, there is still often an initial state of shock and disbelief. A numbness that actually protects us as we start to try and make sense of our thoughts and feelings.
The impact of grief can affect us in different ways:-
Emotions/Feelings:- sadness, anger, guilt, numbness, longing, fear, hopelessness.
Physically:- fatigue, disrupted sleep, appetite, being vulnerable to physical illness.
Thoughts:- concentration, forgetfulness, memories, why?, reliving the death, wanting to be with the loved one, sometimes suicidal thoughts.
Behaviours:- crying, avoiding places which act as reminders, alcohol intake.
How can counselling help?
Because someone has died it doesn't mean they are forgotten but sometimes we need to make sense of our feelings and how to cope without them.
It may seem as though everyone around you is getting on with their lives and yet you are still struggling and feel alone in your grief. Perhaps not initially after the death, perhaps a few weeks or months later.
Talking about the person, the sadness, distress and pain of the death, the funeral, can really help. These thoughts are often constantly around, they can feel overwhelming at times and you don't feel you want to burden family and friends.