Grief is the way we respond when we lose someone we love. It can have a huge impact on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. There is no ‘one size fits all’ to grief: how you feel, react and cope will be unique for everyone. You may find it hard to concentrate, feel confused and forgetful. Your thoughts may constantly return to the person who died, with painful questions and fears running through your mind. You may be going through a range of different and intense emotions.
In the period immediately after a bereavement, you might be feeling numb and withdrawn; you might be in shock, or even a state of denial.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.
As time progresses, you’ll notice that your grief changes. The intense emotions will become less frequent, and your mind will be able to start focusing on other things. While your life will never be the same again, you are building a new kind of life; not one you would have chosen, but one that you will slowly become more familiar with.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to carry on as normal. You may need to take a break from your usual responsibilities. Take small steps and don’t expect too much of yourself. It is also important to not blame yourself. Often it is too easy to think – if only I did this? Don’t be harsh on yourself.
Samaritans www.samaritans.org 24 hour support for people experiencing distress or despair.
57, 27, 21. Numbers I will never forget. I was aged 27, when my mother aged 57 passed away on the 21st from alcoholism. It might seem odd that my age sticks out as a significant number, but for me it was something I was constantly aware of, "You’re still young you'll be fine", "you've still got marriage and kids ahead of you", "you've got your career in London" people would say.
Cruse Bereavement Care is here to support you after the death of someone close. If someone you know has died and you need to talk. Face-to-face and group support is delivered by trained bereavement support volunteers across the UK. We also offer information, publications, and support for children. Cruse website
We provide a lifeline of safe, caring and professional support to families, friends and carers who are struggling to cope with the nightmare of a loved one’s addiction. Through our range of services we give families the strength to break free from the cycle of addiction and rebuild their lives. We’re dedicated to what we do because we know it makes a difference. Thanks for finding us and we are here for you. Elizabeth Burton-Phillips Founder, DrugFAM http://www.drugfam.co.uk
You may find that family and friends can offer you all the support you need but that is not always the case. If you are feeling isolated and lonely, there are other organisations and sources of support that we would encourage you to get in touch with. The most important thing is not to suffer alone – support is out there for you. Experiences of support from family and friends vary greatly. For many people who have been bereaved through a loved one’s drug or alcohol use, you may well find that friends and family offer you the best source of support, both practical and emotional.
How can I support someone who has been bereaved through drugs or alcohol? The single most important thing you can do is to listen to your friend or family member with sensitivity and compassion. Many people who have been bereaved in this way feel judged and stigmatised and that their loss is somehow not valued.