Coping with bereavement

August 29, 2017   //   No Comments

Silence, speech and starting again

It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know.

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

I’ll go on.

Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable

Grief and bereavement do not manifest themselves in any single way. Some aspects are shared and some will be totally unique to you. Over time, you will find helpful ways to cope, and hearing about what helps other people might be a helpful thing to do.

  • Talking about it

Breaking the silence in which you might find yourself can often be an important first step in addressing the bereavement which has turned your world upside down.  However, something which bereaved people often share is the sense that their friends or other family members might not know what to say, and therefore end up saying nothing for fear of saying the “wrong thing”.

Making the first move isn’t easy, but telling others that you want to talk and that it’s ok for them to mention certain things can often be an ice-breaker which will help you and those around you to understand and come to terms with the loss which you have experienced.

  • Being kind to yourself

Grief changes over time. Something which upsets you one day might make you smile another. Some days you might not think about it at all, and some days you might be unable to take your mind off it.  What matters here is that you know that it’s ok to have these changing feelings. Some days you might feel on top of the world, and you might not even think about your loved one who has died. People aren’t going to think you’ve stopped grieving, and nor should you feel guilty about feeling a bit better.

After he lost his wife to cancer, C.S. Lewis recorded his personal exploration of bereavement in A Grief Observed.

“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I’ve already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago.”

  • Practical help

There might be a time during this process – and it won’t necessarily be at the beginning – when you need a bit more professional or structured support.  Your GP may be a good first port of call. You may want to consider national bereavement support networks, such as Cruse Bereavement Care, the Widowed and Young (WAY) group or The Loss Foundation.  Many churches, hospices and NHS trusts also run bereavement support groups or offer counselling and therapy.  Some SAIF members also run support groups for their clients.  It’s worth seeing what’s available in your area – and what works for you as you move forward.

  • Step by step

We don’t all cope with bereavement in the same way, and there is no easy method or model for moving on after the death of someone close to you.  Taking each day as it comes can help you to see that there are endless ways to cope with grief. There is no right or wrong – something which can give a sense of comfort in itself.

“The same wind that uproots trees makes the grasses shine.”

Rumi, The Grasses

Written by Stephanie MacGillivray from the artofdyingwellorganisation.org

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