The loss of a loved one can make you feel hopeless, powerless and failing to “see the point” in doing anything. It’s important to remember that these are normal states of being and that they get better with time. Nobody knows how long it takes to get through them but talking to family members and friends helps. Occupying your time with activities you enjoy or taking up a hobby also helps.
Please consider the following suggestions regarding general and specialised bereavement help and support in the UK:
Bereavement support after the funeral
Your mind is elsewhere in the lead up to the funeral. That makes it easier to cope but things are likely to change after the funeral, especially if you live on your own. As the loss begins to sink in and you have more time to think about its impact, coping can be difficult. Here are some suggestions about bereavement help and support after the funeral:
If you struggle to cope after the death of your loved one and you are not sure where to start, make an appointment to see your GP. They can identify the different physical and emotional effects of grief and suggest a solution. They can also advice you about the effect of grief on any chronic conditions and how to manage them.
If you feel uneasy about disclosing the reason for your consultation, remember that you don’t have to make it known when you book the appointment.
Family and friends
You may notice a slight decline in the offers of help from family and friends. They are still there for you but they may not know what they can do to help. Don’t be a stranger and let them know if and when you need help with tasks and chores. Invite them for coffee or schedule regular catch up phone calls.
Grief and social media
Keeping in touch with family and friends or joining private grief groups are among the best uses of social media whilst grieving. A word of caution though: keep your wits about for people who are out to take advantage. If you notice anything suspicious report and block that person. Don’t give your contact details to anyone and don’t send any money online. Remember that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Grief and bereavement helplines
The anonymity of a telephone helpline can be beneficial in encouraging you to share your feelings when you are overwhelmed with grief. Some helplines are paid for services, so make sure you are aware of that before you dial the number.
Joining a local support group helps you to connect with others in your situation. You can draw comfort and inspiration from the experiences of other members. Grief is individual, so it’s important to find a group that offers relevant bereavement support to your particular needs and circumstances.
Coping with grief at work
Returning to work after your loss can be an overwhelming and anxious experience. Some employers may offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is designed to help employees with personal or work-related problems that may affect their work performance, health, emotional and mental wellbeing.
It’s worth checking with your line manager if they offer an EAP because you may be eligible to some counselling through it.
GriefChat is a free online service which connects you to a bereavement counsellor who is specially trained to listen to you and to point you in the direction of further help and support. This service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm.
You can benefit from it by clicking on the GriefChat box on their website – www.professionalhelp.org.uk/grief-chat/
Grief is not something which you can force or hurry. Give yourself permission to grieve and plenty of time to work your way through it. Remember that there are organisations which exist to help and support bereaved people in different circumstances.
Which type of grief help would you recommend?