COPING WITH DEATH AND GRIEF
No two people deal with death and grief in the same manner
There is no right or wrong way to cope with grief. It is normal to experience intense and painful emotional reactions when someone important to you dies.
The Process of Grief
Grief is a vital part of the recovery process following the death of a loved one. It can involve a wide range of emotions including anger, sadness, guilt, depression, denial, fear, panic and loneliness.
These feelings, although often bewildering, are common and natural. The process of grief is often described as involving a number of stages, from shock to eventual recovery. These stages may or may not be experienced, and may be revisited over a period of time.
The grief experience is unique to every individual, and the following descriptions are purely an overview to assist you in identifying and coping with grief.
When you first learn of the death of a loved one, an immediate reaction may be one of shock. You may be stunned and in disbelief, especially if the death was sudden or unexpected. This is a natural reaction.
Letting go of your emotions and expressing your feelings can help the healing process and is a positive step. It is normal to want to cry, shout, be angry and reminisce.
In releasing emotions you can become depressed or experience overwhelming feelings of loneliness.
This is the time when you come to realise that your loved one has gone forever.
You may become disinterested in what is happening around you.
Remembering and reminiscing of the past is also a natural part of the grieving process. The good times shared with a loved one can become a constant thought.
Although it may seem to hurt more, it can bring some relief to share your memories and feelings with others.
People can often blame themselves or others for a death. “If only I’d been there for her” or “If only I hadn’t let him go there” are thoughts which may cross your mind at times.
It is normal to experience anger and aggression, but it is important to let this anger out and talk to someone you feel comfortable with in discussing the death.
Experiencing certain physical symptoms during the course of your grieving can be common. It is important for your own health and well-being to look after yourself.
Even if you don’t feel like it, make sure you eat properly, exercise regularly and aim to get a good night’s sleep. Seeing your GP for a check-up is also recommended.
Signs of Recovery
It will take time to work through the grieving process, but eventually things will start to feel better and you will feel ready to get on with your life again.
The length of time it takes to work through the grieving process varies from person to person. The painful feelings will diminish over time, but if they remain intense and prolonged, it may indicate that professional help is needed.
- Lifeline (24-hour service): 131 114
- SIDS & KIDS: 1300 308 307
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636