To have experienced the death of someone you love at a time when others are happy or are celebrating can be extremely distressing. People who have not experienced a significant bereavement may not understand the incredible yearning, sadness and anger that can intensify around significant anniversaries and rituals. Socially there is a sense that grief and feelings of loss should be put aside at these times, that it is letting the side down, spoiling it for others if you let them know how you truly feel. The 'enforced happiness' can cause even more stress and heartache, as the bereaved may feel a failure because they can't put on a brave face. It is not possible to just shake off grief and hiding true feelings comes at a cost. This added stress can be the last straw and cause depression or the person may 'explode'. When others seem happy it can cause heartache and stress as the reality of their new life becomes more painfully obvious. For those who are grieving, their loss is often denied or avoided to make it perfect for others and this can prolong the grieving process
Talking helps you to grieve
Everybody's reaction to grief is different but it is natural and healthy to express emotion. Suppressing feelings can make it harder to move on. Often when friends and family are happy they may not allow you to talk about the person who has died, they may tell you not to cry. People may often be afraid to talk because they may feel it would cause distress to mention the person. Many people who are bereaved want to talk
and want to cry and this should be encouraged. This is where TheCircle can be a useful port of call
, the talented readers are there to support and listen to you at such a difficult time and will act with compassion and empathy.
It is not disloyal to be happy
Some people feel 'disloyal' when they start to feel better. The reality is that feeling better does not mean the person means any less to you, just that you have accepted the reality that they have gone, they will want you to have happiness again.
- Talk to the person who has died, look at photos, go to places they liked, keep their memory alive but don't stop it from letting you meet other people and getting on with day to day things.
- Plan your time so that you're under as little stress as possible. Plan your 'escape' if need be and don't over commit. Rehearse simple explanations as to why you cannot attend functions.
- Let friends and family know you need to take things slow which may mean taking each day as it comes.
- Ensure quiet time, so you can simply sit with your memories and your grief
- Ask for a hug.
- Do your best to look after your physical health. Eat when hungry, sleep when tired and cry when needed.
- Know that in time the pain will fade and you will have those fond memories.
- Be gentle with yourself.
“Sorrow comes to all... Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now realise that you will ever feel better... and yet... you are sure to be happy again” - Abraham Lincoln.
PUBLISHED: 01 SEPTEMBER 2015