Source: Marie Curie
Grief is a natural response to losing someone you care about. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone’s experiences of grief are individual. The important thing is to do what feels right for you.
Grieving can be painful and it can’t be fixed or made to go away. But the grief and pain will lessen and there will come a time when you can adjust and cope without the person who has died.
Your Initial Reaction
It’s impossible to predict how you’ll react to the death of someone you care about, even when you know what’s going to happen.
You may go into shock or feel numb. You may feel disbelief and that what’s happened isn’t real. You might carry on – or try to carry on – as though nothing has happened. In the first few minutes and hours, you may go through many different feelings and emotions, and that is normal. There’s no right or wrong way to feel and react.
If you’re alone at this time, you could ask family and friends, or a spiritual or religious leader, to come and support you.
How You Might Feel
Grief is not just one feeling, but many emotions that follow on from one another. You may find your mood changes quickly, or that you feel very differently in different situations. People who are bereaved sometimes say they feel ‘up and down’.
You may feel:
- shocked or numb
- anxious or agitated
- lacking in purpose
You might also find it difficult to concentrate or carry out tasks that would normally be easy.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel and no timetable for grief. Everyone is different.
It’s common for people to swing between feeling OK one minute and upset the next. You might find that these feelings come in waves or bursts – this can be unpredictable and might make you feel worried, ashamed or afraid.
How Long Does Grief Last For?
People sometimes ask how long they will grieve for. There’s no good answer to this as it will be different for each person. You may have different feelings that come and go over months or years. Gradually, people find that their feelings of grief aren’t there all the time and aren’t as difficult to cope with. At times, these feelings might still be stronger – for example, at anniversaries, birthdays or in certain places.
Some people find that their feelings of grief don’t lessen, and they find it difficult to manage daily activities. For example, they might struggle to go to work, look after children or socialise with friends. If you’re experiencing this or you’re not able to cope, speak to your GP. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123.