ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES
ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES

Grief and Bereavement

Grief and Bereavement



The reason people grieve is usually to accept the loss of someone significant for them and then move on with their lives. Grief is a natural process and if interrupted, by various reasons, may lead to an accumulation of sadness and anger which may later manifest itself in a depressive state. Common reasons that usually interrupt the process of grieving are fear of being judged, necessity to take care of children, financial difficulties, fear of losing emotional contact with the deceased, or complicated circumstances such as social stigma after suicide.

It is important to know that everyone goes through bereavement in their own way meaning that there is no right way to grieve. Depending on the meaning of the person in your life you can grieve for a week, a month, a year, or several years. Many people say that they do not get over it completely no matter how much time has passed and no matter how much they’ve grieved. Most people report that they are able to move on with their lives after two years of grieving. What do I mean by “move on with their lives?” Definitely not forgetting the person. The memories of the person are still present in their lives and they tend to remember the good times and cherish those memories. The difference is that most of the pain is gone because they were able to process that pain and accept their loss.

No matter how long is your natural tendency to grieve, you can facilitate the process by talking to people who were close to the deceased, by talking to supportive friends, by expressing your feelings of sadness, anger, or guilt through writing, and by gradually accepting the fact that death is beyond our control. If you are grieving the death of an unborn child you might need to work through your lost hopes as well as unrealized plans and expectations.

When in your first and second years of bereavement it is very important to prepare for anniversaries such as the day the person died or the days that were special to both of you like birthdays, New Year’s, or Valentine’s. Make sure that you are not alone on those days! Try to spend them with people who are aware of the situation and who you feel comfortable with.

Take grieving one day at a time! There is no need to rush it.

If you are a family member or a friend of someone who is grieving you might feel uneasy about spending time with them because you are not sure what to say or do. This is very common. In general, you can’t go wrong by simply spending time with the person and if they start talking about their feelings (notice, if and only if they start talking about it themselves) you can be most helpful by listening to them and accepting any feelings they might have whether you like those feelings or not. It is not a good idea to try and persuade them not to feel sad or angry or guilty. It will only lead to tension and possibly confrontation. You do not need to give them advice (unless they ask for one) and you don’t need to know anything about grieving to be helpful. You can simply listen and if you become curious about something they are saying it is okay to ask questions about it; you do not need to be afraid of provoking them. If they did react to one of your questions, that is okay too, you can simply say that you didn’t mean to hurt their feelings and keep on listening. Try to get comfortable with silences, there will be a few.