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Bereavement Support

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Death bereaved bereavement

When an individual has lost a loved one (s)he is said to be bereaved. This is an emotional time, and often one that can be surprising and even frightening to both the bereaved and his or her family and friends. It is during bereavement that most people require additional support, whether it be emotional, practical or financial, from family, friends, professionals or the government – or some combination of them all.

Understanding Bereavement and Grief

Bereavement is often equated to grief, and grief has been described as the emotional response to the death of a loved one. Most often grief is equated simply with sadness, though this is not exactly the case. Grief often involves a progression of different emotions. The Kubler-Ross model of grief, which developed after Elizabeth Kubler-Ross investigated this cycle in many grieving individuals, describes grief as a five stage process. Denial, anger, bargaining depression and acceptance are all stages identified by Kubler-Ross.

However, this does not mean that all bereaved individuals will experience all stages, that all stages will be experienced in the same way, or that all stages will be experienced in the same order. There is no set itinerary for grief, though if there is a distinct lack of emotional response, or an emotional response so overwhelming that it begins to affect a person’s employment, education or personal relationships then some support may be needed.

Emotional Support

Whether it comes from relatives, friends or a trained professional, most bereaved people need emotional support following the death of a loved one. Very often bereavement counselling is recommended, as it allows the bereaved to explore and describe his or her thoughts and feelings to an objective audience – the counsellor or support group. During bereavement counselling it is acceptable to cry in anguish or rage in anger if those are valid emotions, and there will be no one who will attempt to censure what is being felt. Family and friends may also be able to provide this emotional support, though since their main concern is likely to be to look after the bereaved, or guard the memory of the deceased, and not always to assist with emotional exploration, they may not be able to remain as objective as a bereavement counsellor or members of a bereavement support group.

Practical Support

Particularly in the days and weeks immediately following the death of a loved one, many individuals appreciate a degree of practical support from family and friends. Cooked meals, child care, assistance with errands, and of course help with organising the funeral and possibly even the estate of the deceased are all things that can be offered to help lighten the load of the bereaved. 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. A Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to offer practical information and advice as well.

Financial Support

The death of a loved one can leave the bereaved in need of financial assistance, whether it be to cover the cost of the funeral, to settle the deceased’s estate, from losing a second income or something else entirely. There are some benefits and payments available to help financial support the bereaved, though all will have certain qualifying conditions attached. Just a few of these supports include Bereavement Payment and 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.

Bereavement is a complex state, one in which many individuals find that they need emotional, practical and/or financial support to pass through successfully. Family, friends, trained professionals and even the government may all be able to offer certain types of support at this time, though it may require the bereaved asking for help before it can be offered.

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I have recently lost my daughter suddenly she livedoesn't in Dubai but was on holiday in her villa in Portugal with my youngest daughter and her husband and children. My youngest daughter witnessed her death at hospital and was devastated as were all our family. We had to go out to Portugal and had lots of problems repatriating her and never got to see her due to the time taken she had deteriorated too much. The problem is when we had her funeral my sister who lives in Ireland and who my husband and I have supported through every crisis in her life including her husbands death was not there for us. In fact she was arriving at 1.30 am on the day of our daughters funeral and leaving at 4am the day after. My youngest daughter rang her to say I needed her and was not pleased at the times of arrival erc. . but instead of supporting us she was very curt to me on the phone saying she would stay at a travel lodge I said are you staying with us after the funeral and she again was very curt and said no she wouldn't because of the time. As it turned out they had not booked that night so my husband told them to stay with us. Her attitude was really unpleasant which added a lot of stress on a really traumatic day. I wrote and told her of our disappointment considering our dead daughter had looked after her many times when she stayed with her I thought she could have spared us a few days... I am so traumatised by this and can't see a way forward. ...my sister has not responded to me.
Scuba - 13-Sep-17 @ 8:35 AM
I went to my country to attend my sister's wedding, I was not expecting the crisis of my 10 years nephew death by car accident after two weeks of my arrival and one week before the wedding. I was shocked and still shocked, i was expecting to attend a lovely wedding between all my family members, but instead i went there to attend my nephew's funeral. i am shattered, i still can not deal with it, i am always crying whenever remember what happened and whenever see his photos, my heart breaks. it almost 4 months now and i still can not adapt, feeling sorry, guilty, blaming myself or others i don't know, i really want to overcome these feelings but i can not and will remember this for the last day in my life, especially i was going to him everyday in the ICU in the hospital, hoping he could wake up, talk to me or even show a sign of life, but this never happen, my heart is bleeding and my mind can not stop thinking of him. i feel i am still in a nightmare and hope to wake up soooooooon.
MAROMAR - 12-Aug-17 @ 5:49 AM
QueenB - Your Question:
Whenever I wake up I feel confused like am not myself and am in the other universe. My body is numb,angry,lonely truly I don't know what's going in I think am loosing it.My husband's departure has changed me totally.I called his phone thinking he'll answer or holding my phone waiting for his call because he couldn't stay an hour without knowing where I am and doing.He was my everything to me. I really don't know what to do to overcome this I even thinking of joining him wish he can come and take me with.

Our Response:
Please try and seek some advice from a local bereavement support group or a charitable organisation like CRUSE which also hashelpline you can call. Don't try to cope with this alone, take each day as it comes and try to find another focus to keep you going until you are ready to get through the next necessary stages of the grieving process. We wish you well.
FacingBereavement - 26-Sep-16 @ 2:35 PM
Whenever I wake up I feel confused like am not myself and am in the other universe. My body is numb,angry,lonely truly I don't know what's going in I think am loosing it.My husband's departure has changed me totally.I called his phone thinking he'll answer or holding my phone waiting for his call because he couldn't stay an hour without knowing where I am and doing.He was my everything to me. I really don't know what to do to overcome this i even thinking of joining him wish he can come and take me with.
QueenB - 25-Sep-16 @ 7:37 AM
My husband lost his dad and accusing me for not seeing him before he die. He couldn't go because of document problem. He will not talk to me and if he talk he will be angry and accuse me of many things. I want to help him but I don't know how. I am afraid that our marriage will soon end.
Noone - 7-Nov-15 @ 6:28 PM
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