Bereavement describes the sense of grief and loss you experience when someone close to you dies. When this happens, you go through a process of mourning - numbness, anger and sadness can all be a part of this. Bereavement can also cause physical reactions including sleeplessness, loss of energy and loss of appetite.
Bereavment counselling can help you cope with the grief which results in the loss of a family member or loved one.
When someone is bereaved, they usually experience an intense feeling of sorrow called grief. People grieve in order to accept a deep loss and carry on with their life. Experts believe that if you don't grieve at the time of death, or shortly after, the grief may stay bottled up inside you. This can lead to emotional problems, and even physical illness later on.
Working through your grief can be a painful process, but it's often necessary to ensure your future emotional and physical wellbeing.
There is no single way to grieve. Everyone is different and each person grieves in their own way. However, some stages of grief are commonly experienced . There is no set timescale for reaching these stages, but it can help to know what the stages are and that intense emotions and swift changes in mood are normal.
The stages of grief aren't distinct, and there is usually some overlap between them.
Feeling emotionally numb is often the first reaction to a loss. This may last for a few hours, days or longer. In some ways, this numbness can help you get through the practical arrangements and family pressures that surround the funeral, but if this phase goes on for too long it can become a problem. Numbness may be replaced by a deep yearning for the person who has died.
You may feel agitated or angry, and find it difficult to concentrate, relax or sleep. You may also feel guilty, dwelling on arguments you had with that person or on emotions and words you wished you had expressed, or you may feel guilty because you weren’t there when they died.
This period of strong emotion usually gives way to bouts of intense sadness, silence and withdrawal from family and friends. During this time, you may be prone to sudden outbursts of tears, set off by reminders and memories of the dead person.
Over time, the pain, sadness and depression start to lessen. You begin to see your life in a more positive light again. Although it's important to acknowledge there may always be a feeling of loss, you learn to live with it.
In the final phase of grieving you’ve accepted your loss and you feel more your normal self. You may never forget the person you lost but now you can think of them without getting upset. Your sleeping patterns and energy levels return to normal.
Children are aware when a loved one dies and they feel the loss in much the same way as adults do. Although children go through similar stages of grief, they may progress through them more quickly. Understandably, some people try to protect children from the death and grieving process. But in fact, it's probably better to be honest with children about your own grief, and encourage them to talk about their feelings of pain and distress.