Dealing with Grief
People react in different ways to loss. Anxiety and helplessness often come first. Anger is also common, including feeling angry at someone who's died for "leaving you behind". Sadness often comes later. Feelings like these are a natural part of the grieving process. Knowing that they're common may help them seem more normal. It's also important to know that they will normally pass, if however, you are finding it incredibly hard to cope with and you need help, there are many ways to reach out for support.
Your first option is your GP, who can refer you to local bereavement services. Help is also available from dedicated charities:
Cruse Bereavement Care have a free grief support line as well as face-to-face and group support.
Samaritans provide a free 24/7 support line and drop in sessions at their local branches.
Child Bereavement UK offer telephone and online support to parents who have lost a child.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy have an online directory of therapists who may be able to help you.
The Probate Department Website also has a number of useful resources relating to Bereavement Support.
What to Say to a Grieving Person?
It’s often hard to know just what to say when you know someone who’s grieving. The first step is not to think you have to say some words to cheer them up – it’s perfectly normal and natural for grieving people to feel sad, angry, numb, scared, lonely or down. Saying something like, “I’m sorry” is simple but can mean so much to someone who is grieving. They often just need someone to talk to, someone who’ll let them share their feelings and their memories.
DO allow the person to cry and show how they feel – grief is for men and women, boys and girls, young and old.
DON’T say “Be brave” or “Be strong” – this encourages grieving people to bottle up their feelings.
DO talk about the person who’s died – say their name and be willing to hear about the circumstances of the death – this all helps the reality of the loss to sink in which is an important part of grieving.
DON’T say, “I know how you feel” – we can never feel another’s inner feelings, or fully know all the things that are part of someone else’s grief.
DO offer practical help – buy groceries, mind children, mow lawns, do the ironing, cook meals – not just in the days straight after the death but in the months to come when the real effect of the death is often being felt.
DON’T forget special days like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – these can be very lonely when someone special has died. A card or phone call on a day like this could be very special.