What is grief?
Grief is a natural and completely normal response to loss and is something that everyone will experience at some time in their life. Grief is the process that a person goes through as they adjust to life without the person who has died. Grief can be influenced by the relationship with the person, the way in which they died and the support network around the people who have been bereaved. Most people will go through the grieving process quite naturally and in time begin to recover from the grief. Other people, for many reasons, may find they are experiencing complex grief and might want to speak with a GP or access a support service to help them.
You might want to visit Cruse Bereavement’s ‘Coping with Grief’ page for more information.
How can I look after myself while I am grieving?
You may have heard it before, but there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Our response to loss will be as unique as our finger prints, and so we must recognise that our grieving process will be unique too. In this regard, it is important to practice good self-care while grieving; it is important to look after yourself. This could involve eating regularly, staying active, trying to keep to a routine, speaking about the person you have lost and generally allowing yourself the time and space to go through the grief – there is no rushing grief.
How do I support someone who is grieving?
It may be that you are supporting someone who has been bereaved and is grieving and this can be a difficult task. Try to let them have time to absorb what has happened, give them time to talk about the person who has died and remind them that you are there for them. Be aware that supporting someone who is grieving can be emotionally challenging, make time to look after yourself too.
You might want to visit Cruse Bereavement's 'What to Say When Someone is Grieving' page for more information.
How long does grief last?
The first few hours, days, weeks and months after being bereaved may feel very intense and this will be a natural response as the person tries to make sense of the loss of the person who died.
There is no answer to the question of how long a person may grieve for but in time (and it will be different for everyone), they may begin to feel that the grief becomes less intense and they are able to begin to take part in the world around about them again.
It may be that there are times when the grief can come back very intensely – for example around special dates such as birthdays or anniversaries. This is ok too – grief is not a linear process and there may be times that feel brighter and some that make it feel as if the loss had just happened. Grief is a journey, but not always a smooth one.
If you need help
As always, if you have concerns about your own health or how you are feeling – don’t go through it on your own. Speak with people you trust, arrange to see your GP or think about accessing one of the support services listed for help.