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 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

This is when talking to someone can help. You might find the factsheet below helpful along with free booklets like this one on the Cruse Website.

If you’re worried about someone, here is an article on how to help someone going through a difficult time.

Counselling and Listening Services

There are national charities and local services in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes who offer free listening for the bereaved, which you may wish to explore. These include:

Cruse Bereavement Care

Chums (for children)

Milton Keynes Bereavement Service

Child Bereavement UK

SOBS (for those bereaved by suicide)

National Homicide Service (Bereaved Families affected by Homicide)


I 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 Awareness Training

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.

Bereavement Support Group (coming soon)

As a self-funded project, I am also establishing a free peer-led bereavement support group in Bedford.

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.

The group is currently looking for a new home. 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

%d bloggers like this: