Give yourself time
There is no time limit on grieving – allow yourself to feel sad and don’t try to do too much before you feel ready.
A bereavement can bring other losses, such as the loss of a home, or of a role like being the person’s carer. Let yourself grieve for all these losses. They can all have a significant impact on your life.
Talk about it
Talking to others can be very helpful. It allows you to express how you’re feeling and to share thoughts and memories about the person who died. You might want to talk to a friend or relative, or to a GP, bereavement counsellor or charity helpline. You may find that others avoid talking to you about the death – this is usually because they don’t know what to say and don’t want to upset you, but it can be distressing. Try to explain how you feel. Hopefully people will be happy to listen even if they don’t know how to start the conversation.
A few small things can help you to feel better when you’re coping with bereavement. Try to:
- get plenty of sleep
- eat healthily
- be kind to yourself and don’t put pressure on yourself to feel better too quickly
- avoid numbing the pain too much with things like alcohol, which won’t help you in the long run.
Most of this is common sense – it can be hard to achieve when you’re dealing with a painful situation, but try to bear it in mind. Keeping some structure to your day and trying to do a few things and see a few people can also help, even if you do less than you used to.
The worse thing was the isolation. I try to keep busy – I do tai chi and volunteer at my local Citizens Advice. Sometimes I get to the bus stop and I really don’t want to go out, but then I make myself.
You don’t have to cope on your own. If you’re worried, struggling to cope, or want someone to talk to, there are various places you can turn. Friends and family can support each other through bereavement, or you might want to talk to an advice organisation or support group, such as:
- Cruse Bereavement Care – offers support, advice and information to bereaved people (0808 808 1677, cruse.org.uk)
- Samaritans – runs a 24-hour helpline. You can talk to someone about anything that’s troubling you (116 123, samaritans.org)
- The Compassionate Friends – supports people who have suffered the death of a child of any age. Their helpline is staffed by bereaved parents (0345 123 2304, tcf.org.uk)
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide – offers support and information to people bereaved by suicide (0300 111 5065, uksobs.org)
- Sands – supports people affected by stillbirth or the death of a newborn child (0808 164 3332, sands.org.uk). They support people no matter how long ago their child died
- The Silver Line – a free, confidential 24-hour helpline specifically for older people (0800 4 70 80 90, thesilverline.org.uk).
You may be able to find local bereavement services through the At a loss website.
You could also talk to your GP. They can provide help with physical and mental health and might also be able to refer you for talking therapies. You could also look into private counselling – your GP should be able to give you a list of practitioners in your area, or you can search online at itsgoodtotalk.org.uk.