Bereavement, grief and loss are simultaneously a universal and an intensely personal an d unique experience. There are many types of significant loss in our lives, as well as the death of a loved one, we also suffer grief and loss when there are big changes in our lives like the end of a relationship or we are made redundant or that we are diagnosed with a severe illness.  They all share the themes of a significant ending and something that will never come back into our lives.

In any life grief and loss are to be expected, yet the thing that often surprises clients is the intensity of the feelings. Bereavement is the reaction to that loss and although the pattern is very personal, it is not unusual to find it difficult to sleep, to have a disrupted appetite, to feel withdrawn in addition to being tearful and easily upset. There can be a real sense of shock and numbness and of disorganisation. There can seem very little of normal life to cling on to.

Often people while upset at the loss of someone dying will find that the full force of the bereavement, grief and loss does not hit them for a few weeks, perhaps after the funeral. Again this can be surprising especially if you feel that you were coping well.

sadnessOne of the hardest parts of grief and loss is our sense of needing to find meaning within the loss, and often this is where a counsellor can be a great help. Not in so much that the counsellor will find that meaning, but rather that they can be with you quietly in your grief and loss and acknowledge the full range of feelings that you feel, anger, rage, despair, upset or perhaps a fond memory.

When seen from outside we know that we are changed forever by the loss, yet understanding how that grief and loss affects our emotions takes time as we try to come to terms with the reality of the loss and our changed world.

Sometimes family and friends will be able to support each other. Sometimes that is not possible not because they don’t love each other or want to support each other, but because there is a fear; A fear that by talking about their grief and loss; they will make the grief and loss of other family members more intense.

In protecting their family many people have had to repress their own feelings. Often feelings that are repressed in this way harm us in other ways. Again counselling offers an opportunity to talk through feelings without putting the pressure on others, helping to deal with the emotions of grief and loss, in a place of safety.

Do you need counselling for every bereavement or loss in your life? Of course not. However, if you are finding that you are changed for the worse by the loss, or that you cannot shake off the melancholy you may wan to consider if counselling would make the difference.