Surviving Bereavement | A Loved One Passes | Part 1 of 4
A Loved One Passes
When a loved one dies, people wonder, when they feel so sad and bereft, will I ever feel better?
It’s important to know - it won’t always feel like this.
Your emotions are not static and will change as you go through this initial period of experiencing loss. Every feeling, mood, emotion you go through is absolutely valid and right for where you are right now.
It is normal to feel out of kilter and off balance. Your life has changed, possibly in ways you hadn’t anticipated.
It is equally okay to feel stunned and emotionless. No one is the same as anyone else when it comes to grief. This is an individual journey.
Dean Inge said: Bereavement is the deepest initiation into the mysteries of human life, an initiation more searching and profound than even happy love.
There will be days of uncertainty and fear, when you might want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket. And there will be days of feeling in control and able to get down to the necessary business required after someone has died.
This has been compared to being adrift on an ocean where the peaks and troughs of the waves pound your boat.
When neither platitudes nor comforting words help, remember:
like every ocean journey, there is a destination, a safe harbour.
It can be frustrating during this time of grieving when our usual ways of thinking and behaving seem to have disappeared. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel incompetent, or less efficient than how you usually are. It is hard enough to deal with the loss of a loved one, without getting annoyed with yourself.
Sometimes, we feel we need to put on a brave face. Hiding our emotions to others is one thing; pretending to our self is something different. Grief needs an outlet as holding it inside can make a person ill.
Many people journal their feelings privately. As well as this being a necessary outlet, in the long term it is a record of your journey and will show you how far you have travelled. This opens you up to hope and realization there will be a better time ahead.
There is no such thing as ‘ought, should or must’ at this time. Things can wait. Some people may want to organise you because they see things needing attended to. If you feel not up to doing something, you can say No thank you. Listen to your own feelings. Take time to pause and be in your own space.
However, it is often the case that friends and family members feel lost and don’t know what to do. You may even feel let down by people close to you.
Now is the time to let in the kindness of strangers: the person down the street who offers to walk the dog, do the laundry and some of the daily tasks which seem mountainous.
It may take all of your courage to accept the compassion of someone you don’t really know very well. Often, people may surprise us with their sensitivity and kind-heartedness.
You can let this be a time when you allow others to be your support and shoulder, to allow others to show how much they love you by caring and doing for you.
This is a time to be kind to yourself, to be gentle on yourself.
Grieving takes its own time and often longer than we expect. So just take your time and give yourself permission to be in the space and heart you need to be.
The Leeds Celebrant