Dealing With A Bereavement: Getting Through Those First Few Weeks - Tipsy Heelz

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Dealing With A Bereavement: Getting Through Those First Few Weeks


When someone close to us dies, we can experience a whole range of emotions, some of which we might not expect, and it can throw us out a little. From raw grief to anger, relief to desolation, all of these feelings are normal and valid.

If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one and wonder how you will get through the next few days, weeks, months, and years, here are some tips to make the grief process a little easier on you. 

Photo by Irina Anastasiu from Pexels CC0 License

What should you expect to feel and deal with in the first few days?

There are no right or wrong answers here, and everyone may feel something different. However, the following emotions and experiences are perfectly normal. Do not worry if you do not feel some of them or even any of them.

Shock and numbness: When you hear about the death of someone you care deeply about, especially if the death was unexpected, it can be challenging to take the information in and process it, so feeling numb and in shock is normal. In fact, it some cases, it can be helpful. If you are involved in making decisions regarding funeral arrangements, such as where it will happen, any hymns or music, flowers, and choosing funeral cremation urns, feeling a little numb around the death itself can allow you to focus on making these important choices. Your brain has not processed what has happened yet, so you are still expecting that person to walk back in at some point.

Unhelpful advice: One thing that most people grieving for a loved one have to deal with is well-meaning but unhelpful advice from other people. Many people just do not know what to say or how to act - it is not because they want to be hurtful, but because we are never taught how to deal with death. It is still such a taboo subject and one that people feel uncomfortable with discussing. When they do try, it comes out wrong! Many try to avoid talking about it altogether, while others feel like they should be doing something to fix you, which of course, they can't. 

Volatility: You may well find yourself swinging between emotions very suddenly and very quickly, sometimes feeling several different emotions all at the same time. It can make you feel like you are going crazy and can be exhausting. Do not worry, though; eventually, this volatility will pass, and your emotions, while they will not disappear, will begin to even out.

What you need to do after the death of a loved one

Let yourself feel all the emotions: Allow yourself to truly feel any of the feelings that may arise. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to shout and scream, shout and scream. If you want to smile and laugh, smile, and laugh, then so do. Do not feel guilty for the way that you feel or let anyone judge you on it. It is important to find ways to handle this complex mix of emotions. Talk to someone who understands, whether that is a family member or a friend, in a support group or a therapist or counselor. Try to get as much sleep as you can, exercise regularly, and eat healthily. Some people fund that writing in a journal, playing music or painting and drawing can be an excellent release for their emotions.

Be kind to yourself: Grief does not pass in a few weeks, months, or even a few years. For some people, it can last a lifetime. Do not set yourself deadlines or timelines, and give yourself time to grieve; however long it takes.

Create memories: You never 'get over' the death of a loved one, but you can learn to make some new memories and stories to carry with you as you start to move forward in your life without them. It has been said that the greatest way to show respect to someone who has passed is to make new memories on their behalf. If they had always loved visiting a particular place or had always wanted to visit somewhere and had never quite got round to it, why not take a trip there and make some memories in their honor?

What are the practical things that you need to deal with?

Obviously, this depends on your relationship with the person who has passed and the level of responsibility you have. For the purposes of this, we are going to assume you are next of kin and have primary responsibility for the practical arrangements.

Register the death and inform all relevant authorities, and financial institutions: workplaces, insurance companies, banks, tax office, mortgage providers, or landlords are just some of the ones that come to mind. Be aware that many may need copies of the death certificate to close accounts or transfer them, so make sure you order enough copies.

Inform family and friends: In times gone past, the deceased's relatives would have an obituary or announcement of death printed in the local newspaper. These days, it is much more common for people to announce it on social media or send an email or text message to people letting them the sad news. 

Sort out a funeral: You may have discussed this with the deceased at some point and know what their final wishes are, but it may be that you have to decide between a burial or a cremation, whether there is to be a wake, what music they want playing and so on. Many people find that planning the funeral takes their mind off things for a while. 

When someone you love dies, it can feel like you will never get over it. While you will never forget and may never feel quite the same again, you will find that you can move on in life and continue living. 

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