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Coping with Grief and Bereavement

Grief has been described as ‘the price you pay for love’; it is the feeling you have when you lose something or someone close to you. It often gives rise to deep, powerful and confusing emotions.

The grief associated with death is familiar to most people but we can also feel bereaved after other forms of ‘loss’ such as the ending of a relationship, a miscarriage, when a child leaves home or the loss of a job.

Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms and they affect people in different ways. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • shock and numbness – these are usually the first reactions to loss, and people often talk about “being in a daze”.
  • overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying.
  • tiredness or exhaustion.
  • anger – towards the person you’ve lost or the reason for your loss.
  • guilt – for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or did not say, or not being able to stop your loved one dying.

It’s not always easy to recognise when bereavement, grief or loss are the reason you’re acting or feeling differently but mourning is a necessary and healthy process when an ending is painful; and sometimes we need support in the process. Counselling and therapy can help you work through the different stages of grief.

Here are some practical things you can do to try and help yourself:

  • Talk about the person
    If you have lost someone close to you, don’t be afraid to talk about them. Not mentioning the person can leave you feeling isolated and alone in your grief.
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings
    If you feel sad and need to cry, let it out. It’s important to mourn and crying can help to release these emotions. If you feel angry, try and release this emotion in a safe way, such as punching a punch bag or pillow. Or try writing down how you feel.
  • Look after yourself
    Try to eat well, get enough sleep (or rest if you can’t sleep) and exercise. Even a short walk can help.
  • Don’t hide away
    It’s easy to feel like you don’t want to do anything when you’re grieving, however, it’s important to try and keep busy and see people.
  • Talk about your feelings
    Talk to someone you trust about your feelings, such as a partner, a close friend or family member. If you don’t feel that you can open up to anyone you know then a trained counsellor can help. Or you can contact one of the support charities such as CRUSE. Wales Visit the CRUSE website.