It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are when you lose someone; whether it was a sudden death or expected, it can still come as an awful shock and may take a long time to come to terms with.
Loneliness and grief are often intertwined, but the sad reality is that many of us worry we will be a burden to our families if we ask for help or admit that we are finding things hard.
This can be even more apparent when initially after a death there are lots of distractions with people coming and going. But gradually over time this will naturally start to slow down and this is often where feelings of isolation kick in.
Coming to terms with a death
“What can happen is that people feel that the first few weeks or months are very difficult, but there is lots of support around. Then they feel they are doing okay and it may be at this point they have gone back to work,” says Sharon Cornford, Bereavement Service Coordinator at St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney.
“Then around six or seven months later people will often have a major dip - this can shock them because they thought they were doing okay and then it can feel like things are getting worse rather than better. It’s is usually because around this time we realise that this is for real and that person isn’t coming back. This is often a really low period and is when people tend to access professional support,” she adds.
Types of bereavement support
You can find counselling services by going directly through local or national charities and organisations which deal specifically with bereavement. Or you may prefer to find a counsellor via the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), which is the largest professional body representing counselling and psychotherapy in the UK.
Some people find it helpful to have pre-bereavement counselling to help prepare them emotionally, or even practically, for what is going to happen.
You may want also to consider the following:
- Face-to-face counselling (or ‘bereavement coaching’)
- Bereavement support groups
- Online/virtual support with qualified counsellors/therapists
- Self-help books or journals
- Charities and organisations
- Online moderated discussion forums
You can visit the NHS website to find addresses, phone numbers and websites for bereavement information and support services near to you. You could also search bereavement directories, such as Self Help UK and the Counselling Directory.
Other organisations include:
Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90
Visit the Silver Line website
The Bereavement Trust
Helpline: 0800 435 455
Visit the Bereavement Trust website
Cruse Bereavement Care
Helpline: 0844 447 9400
Visit the Cruse Bereavement Care website
Helpline: 01708 765200
Visit the SupportLine website