What can hurt us more than the passing of a loved one? We unconsciously try to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed by intense feelings of heartache. So an initial bereavement produces a feeling of shock and numbness. But sadness, anger, guilt, and/or depression may come soon.
Grieving is a process and it is not humanly possible to deal with its devastation all at once. An unexpected bereavement can be especially hard to make sense of. Bewilderment and demonstration can endure for several years.
What has been felt as a crucial relationship may have vanished. The death then results in a sense of vulnerability for you personally as a lone human being.
So perhaps it is not surprising that we all may feel uneasy when in the business of a mourning friend particularly following a significant recent loss. Not needing to mention the death for fear of saying the wrong thing. Uncertainty about what to say that may be useful in the circumstance. In two minds about how much time to give them if they want to speak at length about their feelings.
1. Bereavement and sharing of negative feelings
Some people may be in the habit of not allowing themselves to get in touch with any inner painful feelings. So, after the death of a loved one, they might attempt to carry on as if little had happened, not talking to the dead person in conversation. However, it doesn’t help to collude together in dismissing their bereavement.
It is tempting to soothe and comfort the bereaved person who’s hurting. But actually this might hinder them from talking about their feelings at their own speed.
2. Bereavement and time to speak privately.
The bereaved vary as to how much they would like to share their negative feelings. Some want to talk in length. This may cause you to feel uncomfortable. However, they might need you to allow them to do this. So suggest anything can be said. Give time.
There is an irrational part of each of us that is likely to add to feelings of bitterness or create a blaming attitude about a loss. For example anger against destiny, or even against the person that has died. If challenged such attitudes might be suppressed. Only when they come out into the open can they be explored and later questioned.
Some individuals may mention their loss but attempt to put on a brave face. They may feel ashamed of the strong feelings and need encouragement to share their sorrow.
4. Bereavement and insight
A part of us may unfairly feel some responsibility for the death of a loved one. ‘Is there something that I could have done to prevent this? If only I’d called Indian Harbour Beach Wildlife Removal ‘
In classic book’On death and dying’ by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, points out that personal relationships which have been close yet hard often leave a legacy of guilt. This feeling could be for that which was unresolved between the deceased and the living person. All personal relationships have complications.
The bereaved person can be greatly helped to be gain insight into ridiculous ideas about their loved one by reliving memories, e.g. by going through the photographs, and speaking about and acknowledging what has been good and precious in the relationship. Likewise, why not invite them to talk about the deceased with individuals who knew the dead person nicely. This would help to develop a more accurate picture and to incorporate others’ understandings with the person’s own memories and images.
This should also help the bereaved individual be more realistic about him or herself. Talking about the deceased helps the individual to recognise that each of us is who we are, in part because of whom another person was to us.
5. Bereavement and expert help.
It is realistic to expect to continue to be greatly upset by bereavement for two years or so. However, your friend may need at some stage to be assured that it would not be disloyal for them to let a re-integration with life and slow forming of new ties.
However they might seem to be inconsolable, stuck endlessly in their despair. They may be functioning in a restricted way but deny this is related to their own bereavement or any inability to give expression to their feelings. In that case why not suggest some sessions with a professional counsellor.
“If a person hasn’t had the benefit of previous secure attachment, the loss will be much harder to bear (and may require counselling to unravel the sooner problems).” (Psychologist, Fraser Watts)
The religious philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg claimed to have visionary experiences of a hidden reality of spirit people. He reported that unlike the body, the brain of a person doesn’t die. In the material world a desire to speak to someone brings people together on the phone or in person. Likewise, after passing in the next life, he wrote that we are able to talk to any deceased person we want to that we had previously known from our bodily life; especially a lover or other household member. Swedenborg wrote that he had seen many soul people with their spirit relatives. However, if they found that they were of different inner character they parted company after a while. For in the spiritual realm he states inner likeness unites and inner gap separates.
Perhaps sharing this information at the right time may bring some comfort in the hope of a future reunion with a loved one who has died.