Understanding Grief

Grief varies in its intensity in accordance to the relationship with the deceased person.

The initial reaction to loss is usually denial and this could be seen as natures way of putting up a mental barrier to stop us absorbing the reality of the loss. Along with this then comes a sense of shock and as a result it is very common for a bereaved person to feel numb, confused and detached from others and everything around them. In fact many bereaved people feel they are 'losing it' completely because nothing is as it was.

'Why has this happened to me?' is the question many bereaved people will ask and it is not uncommon to want to find something or someone to blame for the death. Sometimes the anger might even be aimed towards the person who has died 'Why have you left me to cope on my own? and sometimes anger can be turned inward and then feelings of guilt may be experienced.

When the reality of the the death does begin to dawn and the person realises 'this has really happened to me' the emotional rollercoaster begins with unpredictable highs and lows and setbacks. A grieving person may scream and shout one day and then completely withdraw into themselves the next. They may become very short tempered and irritable lashing out at those around them. They may also start worrying about their own mortality and the health of others as they fear death might happen again.

It is very important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that everyone grieves differently because of the uniqueness of their relationship with the deceased person. Whilst for many people recovery after bereavement may take between 18 - 24 months, for others the process may take much longer and again there is no set timetable.

The final part of the grieving process comes when the bereaved person feels able to try to learn how to manage the new life they now have and so begin to move forward.

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