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
Chums (for children)
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 have designed and delivered the content as the lead trainer for the You Behind the Uniform project, building conversations around bereavement awareness, helping frontline personnel feel confident talking with the bereaved, whilst learning to take care of themselves.
I also designed and delivered training to help establish bereavement peer support groups around the U.K. funded by Red Cross and Co-op.
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
I also offer a paid-for 1-1 talking therapy service for people who are hoping to get their sparkle back after a difficult period in their life. If you would like more information, or are an organisation that wants to learn how to support bereaved people at work, use the contact form on this page to get in touch. Private and corporate clients welcome.
Bereavement Support Group (coming soon)
As a self-funded project, I am also establishing a free peer-led bereavement support group in Bedford. Please note due to COVID restrictions this group is not yet available.
The ‘Grief Gathering’ is essentially a “tea and talk” peer group session where locals (aged 18+) come together to support each other after bereavement. Whether you are recently bereaved or some time ago, you will be made to feel welcome.This group is currently available online for ‘Blue Light’ Staff and Key Workers (including volunteers) who live in Bedfordshire. Please ask for details.
Complete the contact form on this page to stay in touch for updates.
Who runs the group?
The support group is funded and facilitated by me, Delphi Ellis. I started my therapeutic career providing bereavement support and working particularly with those bereaved by murder and suicide. I spent some time with the National Homicide Service and in my early career, supported clients through the inquest process and attending coroners court.
How much does the group cost?
The bereavement support group is free of charge to attend, and refreshments are included.
What Happens at a ‘Grief Gathering’?
When you arrive you’ll be given a warm welcome and offered refreshments which are provided free of charge. You’ll be given some brief information about the purpose of the group, including some basic ground rules to make sure everyone feels comfortable with what they share. There are no formal introductions, and you can join in the conversation if and when you’re ready – think of it like a community café where bereaved people can talk and share.
This is an informal gathering of people who have been bereaved who want to meet others who can share their experiences in a safe and confidential environment. There is no one more important than another. All grief is valid.
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