Grief, loss and bereavement are a near universal experience.  While this is true, It is perhaps thrown in sharp contrast by the reality that grief, loss and bereavement are all experienced in a unique and personal way.  While when thinking about bereavement we naturally think of the loss of a loved one, any loss for example of a job or of a marriage can bring about grief and loss in us.

Loss can overwhelm usIf we think about the way in which we handle death, then we mourn for the person that has passed on. This mourning is the outward sign to the world of our loss. Bereavement is the reaction to that loss and many people will experience symptoms such as sleep disruption, changes in eating habits, withdrawn from friends and socially as wells as crying and upset.  There can be a sense of being thrown about emotionally not being sure what your feelings are from one minute to the next.

How to help yourself

It is important to realise that these are very common reactions and it can be painful to face up to these emotions and difficult to believe that they will pass. While there is no right way to deal with grief there are healthy practical things you can do.

The single most effective thing that you can do is to have support while grieving. This may mean turning to friends and family, which may be hard if you feel you have to be strong for them. Recognise that you need to be strong if you want to help others. Often people find strength from their faith, its rituals or its officials; others find the supports of organisations like cruise or counsellors useful. But don’t grieve alone.

Grieving takes time. There are many models of how we process loss, but all require time as we adjust to our new reality that encompasses out loss. At first it is all consuming it seems to fill every space in our world. But over time our world comes back through and while there is always some part of it that holds the the sadness, we are able to accept it as part of our lives and move on.

It can be easy to grow impatient with yourself, to feel that you should be over it. It can be easy to focus on the grief of others more than your own loss.  Recognise that your own loss is just as important and offer yourself compassion. Do that which feels comforting and familiar. Accept support if you need it and don’t see it as a weakness. It is easy to set our own needs aside, but you can be storing up problems for later on.

Suffering from loss is part of the process of ending and moving on. It is painful and part of life, yet you can make the process easier by recognising that you need to allow yourself the time to adjust to the change in your life, to say good bye.