Bereavement affects people in different ways. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. You may feel a number of emotions at once, or feel you’re having a good day, then you wake up and feel worse again as the day goes on. Powerful feelings can come unexpectedly. It’s a bit like waves on a beach. You can be standing in water up to your knees and feel you can cope, then suddenly a big wave comes and knocks you off your feet.
Experts generally accept that there are four stages of bereavement:
- accepting that your loss is real
- experiencing the pain of grief
- adjusting to life without the person who has died
- putting less emotional energy into grieving and putting it into something new (in other words, moving on)
You’ll probably go through all these stages, but you won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next. Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control, but these feelings will eventually become less intense. Give yourself time, as they will pass. You might feel:
- shock and numbness (this is usually the first reaction to the death, and people often speak of being in a daze)
- overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying
- tiredness or exhaustion
- anger, for example towards the person who died, their illness or God
- guilt, for example guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or didn’t say, or about not being able to stop your loved one dying
These feelings are all perfectly normal. The negative feelings don’t make you a bad person. Lots of people feel guilty about their anger, but it’s OK to be angry and to question why.
Hypnotherapy can help you to come to terms with these feelings and enable you to let go and move on more readily.
Although the only certain thing in life is death, it is still a subject that many people find hard to discuss. Yet by discussing our wishes before hand, it makes the whole experience of death far less stressful for those left behind. For more details on positive steps that you can take prior to death visit the Cheshire Living Well Dying Well Partnership web site.