Grief takes many forms and may be a very different experience for each person. When someone close to you dies, a period of grief is natural and is part of the healing process. It’s important to know that your grief is unique to you.
The funeral is just one part of the grieving process, and it may take months or years to feel like yourself again. A range of emotions is expected, and it’s helpful to have a grief support system around you who will help you cope and be there when you need to share stories, memories and feelings.
Your Dignity Memorial® professionals can be a part of that support group through the grief care offered after the death of a loved one. We are proud to provide families access to exclusive benefits and services, such as the 24-Hour Compassion Helpline®, which can help you cope with loss as you move through your personal grief process.
When dealing with grief, a range of emotions is normal
You may experience a range of emotions when dealing with grief. This is normal, and the emotions and the way you deal with grief vary depending on the relationship with the departed, your own personal characteristics and life history, the specific aspects of your loved one’s death, the social situation surrounding you and your physical state.
Your grieving period may differ from other family members grieving the same person. This may be because of your unique relationship with the loved one and the roles they played in your life. For example, you may be grieving the loss of your husband, who was also your best friend, provider, travel companion and grandfather to your grandchildren.
The actual emotions associated with bereavement can range from sadness and anxiety to helplessness, feeling overwhelmed or fear. Other emotions that you may feel include:
- longing for your loved one
- feelings of denial
- fear of going crazy
- relief (this can happen when a terminal illness was the cause of death)
- impaired concentration
- obsession with your loved one
- avoidance of things associated with the death
- intrusive thoughts and flashbacks
- spiritual distress
- impaired concentration
- restlessness or agitation
- sense of meaninglessness
At other times, you may wonder, “what’s the point?” and wish that you could die too. While these thoughts are not abnormal, if you seriously consider suicide or fail to take appropriate care of yourself such that you put yourself at risk for death from illness or injury, then you must seek professional assistance immediately.
Tips and resources for dealing with grief
As you embrace the pain of your loss, it’s important to take care of yourself. Through our experience helping those grieving the loss of a loved one, we’ve learned that there is no specific time frame for healing.
A healthy healing process means taking the time to understand your emotions as you cope with your loss, pay attention to your own well-being and seek resources when help is needed.
Tips for self-care
It’s important to take care of yourself while you are grieving. Returning to normal activities, hobbies and places can be a helpful part of the healing process.
- Listen to your body, and give yourself permission to feel emotion. Whether it’s feelings of sadness, anger or happiness as you reminisce, be sure not to suppress your emotions. If you need to cry, cry.
- Maintain a proper diet and sleep patterns.
- Get physical exercise, even if it’s just walking around the neighbourhood to get fresh air and sunlight.
- Keep a journal, and write down your thoughts and feelings.
- Lower your expectations of yourself. You can’t be expected to return to normal life right away and function as you did before. It takes time. Give yourself grace and release the need for perfection.
- Make sure you have a support group to lean on through the first year. Working through grief is a continual process and feelings may come and go as you approach holidays or significant events. Having a group of peers to lean on who know you well will help you get through the ups and downs.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Whether it’s help running errands, notes of encouragement or a meal, let your friends and family know how they can help you.
Resources for coping with loss
The Compassion Helpline®
The Dignity Memorial Compassion Helpline offers families unlimited complimentary phone access to professional grief counsellors for 13 months after services are provided by any Dignity Memorial provider throughout North America. In addition, anyone who attends a visitation, chapel or memorial service will have three months access to the Compassion Helpline.
*Services provided by Charles Nechtem Associates, Inc.
Dignity Memorial Guidance Series®
Our Guidance Series, a grief management resource library, was developed to support and comfort anyone dealing with these complex emotions. Ask your Dignity Memorial professional for more information.
- Twelve insights into grieving after the death of your loved one
- Helping yourself cope with holidays and anniversaries
- Helping yourself at our time of loss
Remember, grief feels different to everyone. It’s important not to compare your grieving process with someone else’s. Take care of yourself, and if you need additional grief support, your Dignity Memorial professionals are here to help.