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Coping with Loss

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Everyone copes with loss differently and there is no right or wrong method for dealing with the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one. People will experience many different emotions while they are bereaved, they will experience these emotions in different orders and for different lengths of time, and no doubt they will all find different methods by which to deal with these emotions and work through their grief. No one in a state of bereavement should be expected to act in a certain way or measure up to certain standards of grief. Instead, all individuals should be allowed to cope with their loss as best they can, and support should be sought if they can not cope effectively.

The Cycle of Grief

As a general rule, there may be certain phases of grief that individuals experience, though the actual experiences will vary widely. These phases are sometimes referred to as a cycle of grief made up of stages such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. Throughout these stages the bereaved may feel sad, angry, guilty, frustrated and more. Crying, changes in eating, sleeping and/or socialising patterns, feeling angry, a loss of memory, and a lack of concentration may all be experienced. Again, the specific responses will likely be unique to the individual.

Saying Goodbye

Many bereaved individuals cope with their loss by formally saying goodbye to the deceased. Some family and friends find that organising and attending the funeral is enough, while others may also organise a memorial service or associated event to honour the dead. Annual events such as fundraisers in the deceased’s names are a popular way of raising funds for a cause that the deceased cared about, of allowing surviving family and friends to come together and celebrate the deceased’s life, and allowing loved ones of the deceased a specific time to come together to support each other. 

Finding Support

Sometimes more support is required to help an individual through his or her grief than other family and friends can provide. Emotional support can be sought through bereavement counselling, as it allows the bereaved to explore and describe his or her thoughts and feelings to an objective audience. Practical support can be sought from professionals such as solicitors and/or accountants who can help explain legal rights and responsibilities following the death may also be able to lend practical support at this time. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to offer practical information and advice as well. Financial support also may be required following the loss of a loved one to pay for the funeral, to pay outstanding debts, and/or to settle the deceased’s estate. Sometimes benefits are available to assist family and friends following the loss of a loved one. Just a few of these supports include Bereavement Payment and Bereavement Allowance, Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and/or Guardian’s Allowance. A Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be able to offer more information on these and other financial supports.

Unfortunately, not everyone realises that they need extra support for coping with loss when they are bereaved, so family and friends must remain vigilant of each other and discuss their concerns if they feel that further emotional or practical support may be needed.

Reproduced courtesy of - facing and dealing with bereavement

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