When you lose someone close to you at times the emotional pain can
be so intense and overwhelming that you think that feeling will never
end, you cannot see how you could ever be happy again or continue with
life. The hurt and pain can seem so personal, this is something which
has happened to you and nobody else, but it does help to keep reminding
yourself that however hard and painful it is to bear the loss of a
loved one, it is nevertheless part of life, it will happen to everyone
at some stage or another.
Anyone who has been bereaved will know that your feelings can change
very quickly from one minute to the next. One minute you may feel you
are coping and the next dragged back into the depths of despair feeling
there is no point in going on. The reality is that grief does run its
course and although it does not feel like it - time is a healer - and
if you allow yourself to grieve you should get to a stage where you
can remember the person who has died and focus on the good memories.
You can still miss the person terribly - but it won't be affecting
your every day life or stopping you from moving on with your own life.
When you get to that stage, yes there will be sadness when you remember
your loved one but the enormous feeling of pain will have faded.
You may feel angry at the person who has died for leaving you on your
own - you may feel guilty at having wished the person would die in
cases for instance of a severely ill person who was suffering pain
and a poor quality of life - these are perfectly normal feelings to
have and try and express how you feel rather than keep those feelings
Everyone's reaction to grief is different but it is healthy and natural
to express emotion - to get out your pain, anger, hurt, frustration,
loneliness - rather than suppressing feelings which can ultimately
make it harder to go through the grieving process and move on. You
may find that family, friends, etc. do not allow you to talk about
the person who has died, they may avoid talking about the person who
has died, they may tell you not to cry - people are often afraid to
talk because they may feel it would cause you more distress to mention
the person. However many people who are bereaved want to talk and want
to cry and this should be encouraged - if you are in a situation where
you do not have people in your life to talk to there are helplines
and counsellors who will allow you to talk and help you to grieve.
Don't be afraid to say to people that it helps you to talk and you
want to talk. Sometimes other people just don't know the best way to
help you or what they can say to help - when someone is grieving words
can seem so meaningless and empty and other people cannot guess what
will help you in your grieving.
It is common for some people to feel 'disloyal' to the person who
has died by 'feeling better' - however the reality is that by 'feeling
better' it does not mean the person means any less to you - just that
you have accepted the reality that the person has gone. In order to
carry on living you need to be able to let go of the person who has
died and if you are finding great difficulty in that and a considerable
period of time has elapsed since the person died - you may find that
counselling will help you to let go. Holding onto pain will not help
you to keep hold of the person you have lost and ultimately the person
who has died would want you to move on with your life. If it helps
to talk to the person who has died, to look at photos, to go to places
where they enjoyed going, that is a way of keeping their memory alive
but try not to stop it from allowing you to meet other people, get
on with your everyday living, do things you enjoy, etc.
One of the difficult things to come to terms with - particularly in
a sudden death - is that you may not have had time to say goodbye and
all the things you wanted to say. To move on you need to allow yourself
to say these things. Some people find it helps to go to a quiet place
- maybe somewhere you know the person who has died would have liked
and to speak out loud as if the person was there about everything you
would have liked to have said before the person died - or some people
find it helps to write a letter to the person who died and include
in it everything they wanted to say. Find whatever way suits you which
enables you to say everything you would have liked to have said but
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Bereaved by murder
In some ways we can make some sense of death when we have lost someone
through an illness and we may be able to rationalise and accept that
this is part of life. In deaths where a loved one may have been murdered,
may have been killed in a car accident by a speeding dangerous driver,
it can be impossible to rationalise and make sense of because it is
not a 'normal' part of life so you can't comfort yourself with that
knowledge. It is natural to have enormous feelings of anger, rage,
hatred, and wanting to take revenge against the person who has taken
away your loved one. There is no way you can make sense of it and the
unjustness of it and you have to get your feelings out in a safe way.
However hard it may be you have to try and find a way of reconciling
yourself to what has happened, however unfair, unjust, wrong, it is
as the alternative is that if you allow your life to be consumed with
hatred, bitterness, rage it will in effect destroy your life and possibly
the lives of those closest to you which will mean the person or persons
responsible for taking away your loved one will have destroyed not
only their life but your life and others as well. Some people find
that in situations like this it helps them to be able to talk to others
who have been through a similar situation and there are agencies specifically
helping people who have had someone close to them murdered, killed
in a road accident etc.
Some people find it helps to turn their anger into a positive force
by becoming involved in a support group and working perhaps for more
help for victims of crime, proper and just sentencing for offenders
etc. Do whatever is going to help you to move on with your life, to
help you to find some meaning in life again, to be able to enjoy things
in life again, to be able to laugh, look forward to things, because
that is what your loved one would want and would not want your life
to be destroyed as well.
Bereaved by suicide
Please see pages on this website relating
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If you have been bereaved
Allow yourself to grieve - to express your feelings openly whether
they be feelings of loss, anger, guilt, rage, loneliness, numbness,
disbelief, confusion etc.
- Don't be afraid to tell others what will help you and what you
need - whether it be someone just to listen, someone to talk to about
your loved one, someone to look at photos with you, someone just
to give you a hug, etc.
- Talk, talk and talk about your feelings as much as you want to
- seek support from helplines, counsellors if you feel unsupported
or that others are not there for you in the way that you need them
- If you feel that there are things you wanted to say but didn't
then deal with this in whatever way is right for you - believe that
the person has heard and understood what you have said - this should
bring you some sense of comfort and peace.
- Try to look after your physical health - you may find difficulty
in eating, sleeping etc. but do what you can to look after yourself
- the stronger you are physically the more strength you will have
to deal with the wide range of emotions you may be experiencing.
- Believe that in time the pain will fade, you will be able to focus
more on some of the good memories.
- It may be that you do not feel any real sadness at the death of
the person who has died if you did not have a good relationship with
that person, or it may be someone who caused you considerable hurt
and pain - you have no need to feel guilty if you don't feel sad
the person has died - your feelings are your feelings and nobody
else's - nobody else had exactly the same relationship with the person
that you had so you have a right to feel however you feel.
- Believe that the person would want you to move on with your life,
would want you to laugh, to be happy, to find enjoyment in life.
- Look for new interests, hobbies, friends in order that you don't
feel isolated and alone.
- If you find you are becoming very depressed and not able to let
go of the person who has died and unable to move on with your life
it may help to seek counselling and also to talk to your GP.
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Talking to children who have been bereaved
- Allow your child to talk about the person who has died and answer
any questions they have as honestly as you can.
- A child may feel that they were in some way to blame for the death
(they may have been too naughty, too demanding etc.). Reassure your
child that they are not to blame, death is a natural part of life
and will happen to everyone at some time.
- Explain to your child that the person who died had no choice in
the matter, it does not mean that the person who died did not love
them or want to be there for them.
- A child may feel excluded if not included in funeral arrangements
and if they are not allowed to attend the funeral - this can actually
help a child to accept the reality of death and that the person who
has died will not be coming back.
- If a child has difficulty in verbalising how he/she feels encourage
your child to draw, write, use toys as a means of expressing how
they are feeling.
- Explain to your child that it is okay to be angry, okay to cry,
okay to feel lonely - these are all normal feelings to have.
- It may help your child if you ask them if they would like to do
something special for the person who has died - this could be planting
something in the garden, going down to the coast with you and throwing
petals into the sea, making a special book in dedication of the person
who has died (getting a scrapbook, sticking in photos, writing poems
about the person who has died, writing stories about some of the
things they had done together, photos of places they went with the
person who died etc.)
- If your child talks and makes reference to the dead person allow
them to do that freely.
- It may help at some stage to talk to your child about how to mark
the anniversary of the person's death - perhaps go to a special place
which the person who died loved to go to, maybe buy some flowers
- ask them how they would like to remember the dead person - this
may help the child to accept that the person will not be forgotten
even though he/she and others need to move on with their lives.
- Your child may want to have some photos of the person who has died
to keep in their own room or in a book and this may give some comfort
- If a child has lost someone very close to them - it may help them
to write a diary and to record each day what they would like to say
to the person who has died. After a while the child should find that
they may not feel the need to write every day and the writings will
get less and less.
- Encourage your child to take up new hobbies, interests, may be
join a group such as Guides, Scouts, St. Johns Ambulance, Red Cross
- to enable the child to have something else to focus on and take
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Agencies which provide support and information
SupportLine Telephone Helpline: 01708 765200,
email email@example.com -
Provides emotional support and details of agencies, support groups,
helplines and counsellors throughout the UK.
The Bereavement Register:
020 7089 6403 or 0800 082 1230 (24 hour automated registration service)
Service specifically designed to remove from databases and mailing files, the names and addresses
of people who have died.
Bereavement Trust Helpline:
0800 435 455 6pm-10pm every evening
Support for anyone who has been bereaved.
0808 8000 401
Helpline for people bereaved or injured in a road crash, listening ear and information on practical matters, and local counselling and trauma therapy services. Also offers assistance to police officers and other professionals.
Campaign Against Drinking and Driving:
Helpline 0845 123 5542
To support and assist the victims and families of victims who have
suffered death or injury by drunken drivers on the roads in the
Child Bereavement Charity:
0800 02 888 40
Support for bereaved families, online discussion forums, information.
The Compassionate Friends:
0345 123 2304
Helpline and support services run by bereaved parents. Support
to parents and their immediate families after the death of a child/children
of any age and from any cause.
Northern Ireland Helpline: 0288 77 88 016
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority: 0300 003 3601, www.cica.gov.uk.
Cruse Bereavement Care:
Helpline 0808 808 1677
Provides support services for people who have been bereaved. Helpline
offering listening support and practical advice related to bereavement,
including dealing with an estate, debt and arranging a funeral.
Puts people in touch with local cruse branches that provide a range
of services including individual and group support.
Cruse Bereavement Care: Hope
0808 808 1677
Helpline and other support for young people aged 12-18 following
a bereavement. Also provide email and online support. Also group
work with young people.
Child Death Helpline: 0800 282 986, www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk -
Helpline for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age.
Advice, information, listening, befriending, referrals and face
to face service by arrangement.
Grief Encounter Project:
020 8371 8455
Workshops, one to one counselling telephone advice, resources and an interactive website for bereaved children, young people and their families.
The Laura Centre: 0116 254 4341, www.thelauracentre.org -
A family bereavement counselling centre which provides confidential
counselling and group support free of charge for anyone affected
by death of a child, at any age and from any cause. Any school
aged child affected by the death of a parent, grandparent or significant
adult. Telephone and email support throughout UK, face to face
primarily Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire,
Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Lincolnshire.
The Lullaby Trust
0808 802 6868
Offer confidential support to anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young toddler. This is available immediately or at any later time in your lives. This support is for families, friends, carers and professionals.
Natural Death Centre: 01962 712690, www.naturaldeath.org.uk - Information on 200 natural burial grounds, biodegradable coffins and other coffins, how to organise an inexpensive green funeral with or without funeral directors, looking after someone dying at home, Living Wills, Death Plans etc.
RoadPeace: 0845 450 0355, www.roadpeace.org -
Helpline providing practical and emotional support for people who
have suffered bereavement or injury in a road crash. Advice on
rights, finding a lawyer, counselling and other support services.
Rosie Crane Trust
01460 55120 24hr helpline
The Rosie Crane Trust provides support to bereaved parents.
SAMM (Support After Murder and Manslaughter):
0121 451 1618 / 0845 872 3440
Telephone support line for families and friends of homicide victims.
SCARD: (Support and Care After Road Death & Injury):
Helpline: 0845 1235542
To alleviate distress to people who
have been bereaved, injured or affected by road death or injury.
Set up by a family who lost their 27 year old son in a car accident.
Provide emotional and practical support, helpline, support groups,
meetings and personal support. Help assist and accompany affected
families and individuals and friends to Crown, Magistrates, or
Coroners Court. Send out independent and informative informative
information with regard to the judicial system, provides access
to free initial legal help and advice, can assist bereaved families
with access to free counselling within and outside the organisation.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide:
0300 111 5065
National Helpline and other support services run by a self help
group for people bereaved by suicide. Helpline provides listening
support and will put people in touch with their nearest local group.
Monthly group meetings in various locations. Bereavement pack and
literature for survivors. Conferences and support days.
0808 1689 111
Emotional support, information and practical help to victims
of crimes ranging from burglary to murder through a network of
local branches. The Witness Service, operating in every criminal
court, offers support and practical information about the court
process before, during and after a trial.
- Way Up
Way Up is an active self help group aimed at providing mutual support to those widowed in their 50s and 60s. It is a group with a positive forward looking attitude to rebuild our lives and discovering that lives can be good again, that we can be happy once more.
Support to people who have suffered miscarriage or stillbirth.
For women and their partners
www.bereavementuk.co.uk - Online support site for those who have been bereaved
www.funeralcostshelp.co.uk - the aim of this website is to assist those who have recently lost a loved one and are unable to find accurate information about funeral costs. Information includes: Arranging a funeral, finding suppliers, buying a Headstone, types of funeral, average funeral costs, help with funeral costs, legal requirements.
Information and support site for anyone who has lost a partner
Learn how to deal with money after a death, from paying for the funeral to looking after the paperwork and household bills.
Online tribute charity - create a free tribute to commemorate and remember your loved one
Self help guide on bereavement under leaflets: Mental Health
www.thejollydollies.com - The Jolly Dollies are an organisation started by widows for widows whose main objective is to help widows regain a social life through friendship and organised social events. Our aim is to connect widows locally and nationally, so that The Jolly Dollies network can reach all those widows who want and deserve to have a full, happy and supportive social life.
The Loss Foundation is a registered charity providing support to people who have lost loved ones to cancer; spouses, family members, friends. The charity operates support groups within London and Oxford, and other supportive events. They also provide an array of bereavement information on their website to support those that fall out of their support group catchment area.
How to Survive The Loss of a Loved
One by Golgrove,
Bloomfield, McWilliams - Publishers Atlantic Books: ISBN 0931580439
Click here to read more or buy this book
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