After the funeral my own brothers and sister stopped mentioning Marie’s name.  It was as if she never existed.  I know that they didn’t want to add to my pain, but their reluctance to talk about her in those early days was puzzling and hurtful.  I got a wonderful response when I plucked up the courage to talk to them about this.  Now we can get together and reminisce about times we shared.

Paddy's Story

Bereavement

Because grief and loss are normal life experiences, most people find their way through the pain with support from friends and relatives. Some people may find it helpful to attend a bereavement support group, or one-to-one support in their locality. This may be helpful if you would like to talk to people outside of family and friends, or if you feel you would like extra information. 

Susan Delaney, Clinical Psychologist and Bereavement Services Manager, Irish Hospice Foundation

Everyone’s grief journey is different and most people find their way through grief with the help of supportive friends and family. Here are a few suggestions for supporting yourself.

  • Look after your physical health. Try to rest, eat nutritious meals and take a little exercise each day, even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. You are adjusting to a loss and this takes time and energy. 
  • Accept genuine offers of help. Both practical and emotional support may be welcome, so   let  people know what you need;  for example;  a lift to an appointment,  some grocery shopping, company on a walk, a cup of tea  or a chat whatever it may be.
  • Find a balance between linking in with supportive people and having some quiet time as you heal. Sharing the experience of grief can lessen the isolation. 
  • Remember that grief doesn’t happen in particular stages, it ebbs and flows. Some days will be easier than others, some days you may be ambushed by your grief.  Just take it one day at a time.
  • Try to be open to whatever  your grief brings up, feelings of guilt, regret, anger, relief, bitterness and irritation are also part of the grief experience, accept them without judgment .
  • Most people find the acuteness of grief lessens in time, but a small number of people do become stuck in their grief. Please check in with your GP if you continue to experience significant difficulties in your grief.  

Because grief and loss are normal life experiences, most people find their way through the pain with support from friends and relatives. Some people may find it helpful to attend a bereavement support group, or one-to-one support in their locality. This may be helpful if you would like to talk to people outside of family and friends, or if you feel you would like extra information.

However, It is a good idea to talk to your General Practitioner (GP) or seek advice from the palliative care service your loved one was cared for by, if: you are feeling very low or anxious;  you are very tired and unable to sleep;  you are worried about how you are coping;  you have been bereaved for more than six months and feel your grief is not progressing.   A very small number of people get stuck in their grief and your GP can help identify supports, such as professional counselling

Resources:

Services and Bereavement Organisations