Bereavement/Grief

Bereavement is the experience of losing someone close to us, and it can be emotionally devastating, whether it is a partner, child, spouse, parent, friend or pet.

 

You can experience a range of emotions, like sadness, depression, worry, anger, numbness, emptiness or even guilt and relief and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Everyone reacts in their own way. 

 

You can also experience feelings of grief and loss in other circumstances such as the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, moving away to a new location or a decline in the physical or mental health of someone you care about (dementia for example).

Image by Jeremy Wong

Grieving can be influenced by your culture, values, beliefs, how your family/friends understand loss. 

Different studies describe the stages of the grief cycle in slightly different ways, but the most common grief model was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 where she described five stages which can happen at different times and not in a particular order: 

  • Denial - feelings of shock, disbelief, numbness, which are common in the early days after a bereavement.

  • Anger - faced with the new reality and looking to blame yourself or someone else.

  • Bargaining - feelings of guilt and wanting to find in vain a way out.

  • Depression - feeling tired, hopeless, sad, helpless, once you are resigned to a new fate. l

  • Acceptance - embracing the new reality, accepting what happened, and being prepared to move forward in a new direction.

Talking to a counsellor can help you go through the different stages of grief with support, care and empathy to help you talk about the feelings of grief you are experiencing.