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The first few weeks

In the period immediately after a bereavement, you might be feeling numb and withdrawn; you might be in shock, or even a state of denial. You or other family members or friends might have to decide whether to visit the body. This is a big decision: you might find it very distressing or shocking, or it could bring you a sense of relief to see your loved one at peace. Everyone is different. This could be your chance to say goodbye, but it might be a good idea to take someone with you for support.

If you are finding it difficult to concentrate at this early stage, be assured that this will pass. When someone feels a sense of relief after the bereavement, this can cause feelings of guilt; but this is common amongst family members who have witnessed the chaos of their loved one’s addiction, and lived in fear that one day their loved one would die. You should not be feeling guilty about it: this is a normal reaction.

After the immediate period of shock and disorientation, it’s normal for bereaved people to experience a range of overwhelming emotions, including anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt and loneliness. You might also be struggling to sleep, have lost your appetite and have low energy. This phase can be distressing and frightening, and it’s not uncommon for people to feel like they’re ‘going mad,’ with the wash of emotions. Remember that grief is very powerful, and remind yourself that this is a process – you won’t always feel this bad.

If you feel you need support now, go to our get support section.

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