Everyone’s experience of grief
and loss is unique. It is normal to feel sad and even angry when a person
close to us dies or leaves. People can experience similar feelings when a
Mourning is a ‘cycle of loss’
which often includes denial, fear, loneliness, grief, anger and letting go.
It is a painful process but allows us to come to terms with the loss.
Grief, although normal, can
manifest itself differently in people. Some people move through its
different stages almost effortlessly and others can get stuck at one stage.
For these there is the
possibility of grief turning into depression as the feelings turn inwards to
Symptoms of Bereavement
Physical pain - tightness in
the body, breathlessness, lack of energy
Obsession with the deceased,
sleeplessness, lack of appetite
Most cultures have rituals
which allow the bereaved to be supported and move automatically through the
early stages of their loss in a structured way. Funeral services and
memorials fill the early days of shock and disbelief with activity and other
people. For many, decision-making becomes difficult and concentration can be
lost for long periods. Anger may be misdirected at relatives, health
professionals or others directly associated with the deceased.
There may be an extended
longing for the person to return and an inability to accept the loss. If the
relationship was a troubled one the conflicting emotions can make the loss
even more difficult to bear and result in a guilt which is hard to shift.
Professional help may help make sense of the different feelings.
The main tasks of mourning are:
To accept the reality of the
loss and understand its significance
To work through the confusing
pain of grief
To adjust to life alone – to
re-draw our map of oneself
To let go of the person and
find a place for them emotionally
What issues can Counselling
It can offer an understanding
of the mourning process
To explore areas which might
restrict moving on such as child abuse
Help resolve areas of
conflict still remaining
Help to adjust to a new sense
Consider if the mourning has
turned to depression
Talking about the loss is
usually helpful and allows a person to adjust to their new life with all its
changes, good and bad. Keeping things bottled up, or denying the sadness can
prolong the pain.
Any loss has to be acknowledged
for us to move forward. Bereavement means finding a suitable place for the
lost person to allow life to continue with adaptation and change, not
forgetting or wiping out the memory.
If you would like to discuss any of the
mental health issues raised on this page or find out how counselling might
The Compassionate Friend
TCF is a charitable organisation of bereaved
parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and
care of other bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents who
have suffered the death of a child/children.
Twins and Multiple Births Association
Bereavement Support Group (TAMBA BSG)
The Bereavement Support Group (BSG) exists to
support all parents and carers who have lost from a multiple birth
whether it was during pregnancy, at birth or afterwards. We are
so sorry for your loss and hope that by making contact with the
BSG you will find some comfort.
Support for grieving
families when a baby or child dies.
Support and practical
advice for bereaved people.
bereavement charity provides services to bereaved children, young people and
their families in the UK.
Daisy’s Dream supports children and their families both facing and
following bereavement throughout Berkshire and the surrounding
areas. The death of a significant person in
a child’s life can be devastating and difficult to understand. We
offer support and advice to families, professionals and anyone
concerned about a grieving child.
Grief support for
the young in Oxfordshire. SeeSaw helps children and their families
both before and after a major bereavement, helping them to move
forward and to face the future with hope
The WAY Foundation
Provides a social and support network to help young widows and widowers
Bereavement by Suicide
a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their
experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other
The Blue Cross - The Pet Bereavement Support Service
support and understanding to bereaved pet owners through a national network
of trained volunteer telephone and email befrienders, all of whom are ready
Disaster Action offers support and guidance to survivors and the bereaved of
those affected by major distasters. They coordinate support groups for
people caught up many recent incidents.
Epilepsy Bereaved is committed to
preventing Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy and other epilepsy
deaths through research, awareness and influencing change. EB
provides a contact line enabling people who have been bereaved by
epilepsy related deaths to get initial support and information.
Currently there are over 1,000 calls per annum.
We are the
national charity for road crash victims. Our members
include those who have been bereaved or injured in crashes .We are
the only member based
charity for road crash victims in the UK, and the only one with
Support After Murder & Manslaughter (SAMM)
Offers understanding and support to families and
friends who have been bereaved as a result of murder and
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In this section you will find a
selection of leaflets you can download or print.
Leaflet from Royal College of Psychiatrists
Bereavement leaflet from Counselling Directory
Self help leaflet from NHS Northumberland
Hillier Bereavement Care
Hilliers offer support to the bereaved. It is
an extension of the services provided by Hillier Funeral Service as part of
the care offered and is free of charge.
Swindon and District Samaritans has been
offering emotional support to those in crisis for more than 40 years. You
can call or email 24hrs a day.
Surviving After Child Suicide
Surviving After Child Suicide (SACS) is a supportive resource
for families who suffered the tragic and indescribable loss of a child to
suicide. SACS was created by Swindon-based Freelance Writer, Jan Andersen,
who lost her 20-year-old son to suicide on 1 November 2002
Swindon Sands is a local Sands group, offering support to
bereaved parents in Swindon and surrounding areas. It was founded in 2008
and is run by local parents who have lost a baby too.