Although everyone’s personal reaction to a bereavement is different, most people experience some of the following emotional responses when someone close to them dies:
These emotions normally occur, however, some or more of these responses may be experienced for differing lengths of time, depending on the individual. The main initial responses to a death – even one that has long been expected – are disbelief, shock, and anger. These may lessen in time and can be followed by a sense of guilt, depression, anxiety, and despair. You may also feel an acute sense of longing for the dead person, hopelessness at the thought of their absence, loneliness and sadness at their loss or even a sense of relief that they are gone (which may, in turn, lead to feelings of guilt).
Some physical symptoms experienced after bereavement can be quite acute and distressing. It is important to realise that these are normal parts of the grieving process and will pass in time. Physical reactions may include:
- loss of energy and interest in life
- an inability to sleep or constant tiredness
- poor concentration and forgetfulness
- loss of appetite or compulsive comfort eating
- a “frozen” inability to cry or a tendency to continuously burst into tears
- nausea and/or diarrhea
- headaches and unexplained body pains
Toddlers, young children, teenagers and adults all react to death very differently. It can be very important to tell children about death in a way that they can handle at that particular age.
To inquire about this service;