Living with a death can be a horrible experience. Death is a loss … and we will most likely experience many different losses of varying importance during our lives. These might range from:
- losing a mobile phone
- falling out with a friend
- losing contact with work colleagues from moving jobs
- losing contact with friends and neighbours, and the focus of family memories from moving house
- losing some part of our independence through ill health
- loss of expectation/dreams of what we thought would happen in the future, such as getting made redundant and not being able to pay for overseas family holidays, or finding out that a child doesn’t want to have children, thus leaving you with no possibility of becoming a grandparent
Each of those losses will affect each of us differently. One person might feel the loss from loosing their independence as acutely as another might feel the loss of someone close to them dying.
Life can be very hard. Loss is part of life, as is death – and we are all going to be involved with the death of someone/something else at some point in our lives. Continuing to go on and live our own life – getting up each day, day after day, having experienced that death, can be the hardest thing we have to live though. How we do that and cope with that bereavement can vary due to many factors.
We may feel:
- desperately sad
- unable to carry on
- as if our own life is pointless
- beside ourself with grief
- that no one else understands why we are so upset
Aside from feelings of grief, we might feel:
We may respond to the loss by becoming focussed on our emotions. This might last for days, weeks, months … Things which need doing on a daily basis, such as domestic tasks, or eating, might start to suffer if we feel that we cannot be bothered to do them.
Alternatively, we might respond by not feeling particular emotions but by focussing on tasks to try to forget about how we feel.
We may be able to work through the bereavement on our own, so that over time we learn to function in our daily lives more or less how we did before the loss. We may find that family and friends also provide enough support to help us ‘return to normal’.
However, we might also feel that:
- we cannot deal with the loss on our own
- we are unable to talk to family and friends as much as we need to – they know that we have suffered a loss and we may feel perhaps that they don’t want to keep hearing about it
- we may feel awkward talking with family and friends
- our family and friends are also dealing with the same bereavement and we may therefore feel that we might make them feel worse by telling them about how we feel about it as well
Angela Fletcher Bereavement Counselling