What to expect when you’re grieving
A person grieves in many different ways. You may find yourself feeling angry one minute and completely lost the next. You may cry all the time, or have not been able to – or wanted to – cry at all. You may find you’re keeping yourself busy or just don’t have the concentration to focus on anything at all.
People can make assumptions about what you need or how they can help, which can be frustrating. They will often say things, albeit well-meaning and good intentioned, like they’re trying to cheer you up or talk you out of your pain. It can be helpful to tell people how they can be useful, and compassionately let them know if they’re not helping. There is no right or ‘correct’ way to grieve.
There are a lot of things which people experience when someone dies which are ‘normal’ for a while. These can include:
- Thinking you’ve seen your loved one in the street, or heard their voice
- Dreams and nightmares, and lack of sleep (or sleeping a lot more)
- Wanting to treasure objects or avoid reminders
If you’re worried about someone, here is an article on how to help someone going through a difficult time. You can also find out more about understanding grief (including what to say and what not to say) here. The most important way to help someone who is grieving is to listen, and not try to ‘hurry’ them in their grief.
Counselling and Listening Services
There will be national charities and local services in your area who offer free listening for the bereaved, which you may wish to explore. The following links are not endorsements, just that you may find them of interest.
National Bereavement Partnership ; The National Bereavement Partnership COVID-19 Hub provides a platform for associated practical advice services, support assistance and information to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
SUDDEN for people who have been bereaved suddenly or too soon
Bereavement Advice – practical matters after the death of a loved one
SOBS (for those bereaved by suicide)
National Homicide Service (Bereaved Families affected by Homicide)
The Way Foundation (death of a partner under 51 years of age)
The Compassionate Friends (Death of a child)
SANDS – Still birth and Neonatal Death
Winston’s Wish – Childhood Bereavement Information in Your Language
Bereavement Awareness Training and Support
I designed and delivered the content as the lead trainer for the You Behind the Uniform project, building conversations around bereavement awareness, helping frontline emergency services personnel feel confident talking with the bereaved, whilst learning to take care of themselves.
I also designed and delivered training called More than Words to help establish bereavement peer support groups around the U.K. funded by Red Cross and Co-op. During the COVID-19 pandemic I also ran an online grief peer support group.
If you would like Bereavement Awareness training for your staff, please get in touch using the form at the bottom of the page.
Delphi is just the tonic we needed. Someone who knows their subject thoroughly but who is as down to earth as can be. She feels like one of us. Delphi doesn’t bring a lecture. She brings an intimate experience full of respect and understanding. She gives space for all to contribute and demonstrates that she is listening. She has clearly worked with a lot of people who have suffered.Frank Mullane, AAFDA
If you are worried about how you’re coping right now, please speak to your doctor first and / or contact the Samaritans on 116 123 who are available 24/7.
To access any of these services or to ask about training on how to set up your own peer support use the form on this page. If you’re supporting people at work going through a difficult time, take a look at this article on co-reflection.
Find out more
© Delphi Ellis 2019