Bereavement and Loss

When someone close to you dies it can be traumatic and difficult to come to terms with what has happened. Whether it is sudden or anticipated bereavement can bring immense shock, pain and upheaval to you and those around you.

This can leave you feeling confused and disorientated, every day beliefs and values can be challenged, thoughts and feelings can become an uncontrollable roller coaster.

It can be very difficult to carry on daily life because you are no longer the same and in some ways it can feel that it is your life that is over. When you lose someone it can be as if you have had part of you torn away feeling the pain in a real physical and emotional way.

For others when someone dies it can be a relief from years of domination. In this aspect we can feel enormous guilt because we are set free and yet there is the self-recrimination we should not feel that way.


Grief and Trauma

The length of time it takes to come to terms with the death of someone close is different for everyone. In some instances such as a child’s death or someone who dies in traumatic circumstances then it isn’t something you ‘get over’, you learn to sit with pain and loss.

What you experience has no specific duration or way of acting, feeling or being. Everyone has their own way of adjusting.

Grieving is the experiencing of the trauma that manifests in any number of ways; confusion, anger, sadness, withdrawal, guilt.

Sometimes this can be overwhelming and can continue for an extended period of time. In this situation then bereavement counselling can help an individual to come to a degree of acceptance. Otherwise depression and melancholy can be ongoing.

Counselling helps by verbalising those feelings, exploring the impact and the meaning of what has happened. Often losing someone doesn’t make sense and can lead to many questions including; how, why, what if?

I will work with you, through what can feel like an emotional whirlpool, as different emotions surface with varying intensities and durations. If not addressed these can drag you down.

Going through bereavement is often referred to as experiencing stages of grief. It is necessary to pass through them before coming to a point of acceptance and being able to adjust to a life without them.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler proposed five stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In addition there is often shock and confusion at the beginning. This can be interspersed with anxiety and uncertainty about the future.

Not everyone experiences all stages, nor in the same order, duration or intensity. There is no right way to grieve other than recognising and experiencing those painful feelings.


Living again

Trying to come to an understanding of what has happened can be confusing and disorientating. Often there will be a search for an answer so that loss and the world around us makes sense once again.

Bereavement counselling can help you move through this painful transition.

Often it can help to put their death into context of being a part of what you experienced with that person. That you shared so much more than simply their passing.

For others finding meaning is important. This may be to help others in some way in the form of a legacy. To use their life as an inspiration to do something that otherwise would not be undertaken.

To give significance to the life of a loved one can help to move toward balancing the impact of their death and ongoing absence.

It is therefore possible to arrive, having experienced pain and grief, at a position of hope for the future with fond memories of the past.

In many instances individuals grieve with the help and support of friends. Then there are the other times when bereavement counselling helps. Both ways are appropriate and normal so as to start living again.

At Southampton Counselling and Therapy Practice, ‘New Direction Solutions‘ I provide support to help clients through bereavement, grief and loss.

You can get additional information and support at Cruse Bereavement Care.