Grief Resources

Coping with grief

Grief is a normal emotional and physical response that can occur when we have experienced a significant loss and/or change in our lives. The death of someone we love results in emotional responses such as disbelief, anger, guilt, depression and a feeling of emptiness. Physical symptoms can include sleeplessness, loss of concentration, the feeling of detachment, and numbness.

Grief is like being on a roller-coaster, your emotions can change from day to day or even hour to hour. When grieving, we need to be kind to ourselves and not make judgements on our own behaviour. If you find yourself having a good day, enjoy it, the next day could be completely different.

It can take anywhere from two to five years to readjust after a death of a loved one. Each person will react in their own unique way. There are certain chemicals released by the grieving person, sometimes for months after the death, which is normal. These chemicals change the way we think and feel. Often a birthday, Christmas and the first anniversary of the death of a loved one are especially difficult times.

Children and grief

Children from the ages of three to four are aware that someone is missing and need to be involved with the family in the funeral if they so choose. Children under the age of three need to be kept in their routine with primary care givers as much as possible. Older children will often outwardly copy adults in their grieving e.g. crying or not crying, while inwardly having their own grief reactions as individuals.

Supporting those in grief

In times of grief, people need acceptance of their emotions for however long it takes for them to heal. Providing help with practical tasks such as shopping, cooking or minding children is very helpful for the person grieving. Often the grieving person is afraid that others are ‘sick of them’ and will not ask for help. Phone the grieving person on a regular basis, with their permission, just to show you care. Allow them to grieve in their own way.

People who are grieving need to know you will not judge or devalue their feelings by using clich√©s such as ‘at least he didn’t suffer’. What you can say to a grieving person is something like ‘I wish I had the words to ease the pain you are going through right now’

Helpful links