What is bereavement? Everyone, at some stage of their life, experiences grief at least once. Most of us go through bereavement several times, as people we love pass away, leaving a void that’s difficult to fill. It’s important to properly understand what bereavement is to be able to get help.
Grieving is a complex cornucopia of emotions, and it’s normal to feel them all – from anger and sadness to anxiety, guilt, and feelings of isolation and emptiness.
Bereavement is a process, but not everyone finds they can cope with their loss; feelings of anger and guilt can turn to depression and other more complex mental health conditions.
We deal with loss in complex ways. Some people might seem fine and go about their lives as usual. Some people believe that those people are in denial and, eventually, the loss will hit home.
Common symptoms of grief are:
- Deep, seemingly irreversible sorrow
- Avoidance – of reminders of loved ones, of situations that bring on memories of loved ones
- Numbness and social detachment
- A sense that life has no purpose
- Loss of trust in others
- Inability to see positives in anything
Is my grief normal?
Firstly, there’s no such thing as normal. What you feel is what you feel, and you shouldn’t feel guilty or confused by your response to your loss.
You need to give yourself time, and – eventually – the intensity of your loss will diminish. That doesn’t mean that you forget your loved one; it just means that you manage to find a path towards moving forward.
But, if you find that your bereavement symptoms aren’t improving over time, you might find it useful to talk to someone who can help.