Bereavement, Grief and Remembering a loved one.

To remember and to be remembered are our natural human needs.

A memorial either permanent or our thoughts provides a focal point for remembrance and memorialising a loved one. Throughout human history, memorisation of family has been a key component of almost every culture.

Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorisation, and memories after a death serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.

Providing a permanent resting place for our loved ones is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfils the natural human desire for memorisation. Then we need a process to grieve.

The death of a loved one, friend or family member often puts us in touch with our own thoughts and feelings about mortality.  Suddenly, we realise how quickly life can end.  It is normal to feel out-of-control, and overwhelmed. Realise that you are grieving.

The first step toward regaining a sense of control is to understand grief.  Grief is a physical, social, emotional, psychological and spiritual reaction to loss.  It is natural, normal and necessary. It may cause a variety of reactions, including:

Feeling tired and irritable.  You may experience insomnia or feel tired all the time. Appetite changes. You may or may not feel hungry.

Feelings of anxiousness. You may feel worried and excited at the same time; like your heart is racing and you cannot “catch your breath.” Feelings of emptiness. You may feel hollow inside.  It may be hard to concentrate or remember things. Feeling out-of-control.  You may feel helpless, angry or frightened.

These feelings are normal.  Your whole world has changed.  You cannot bring the person back or change the situation.  It is natural to feel vulnerable.  Through guidance, we gain a sense of understanding.  Through understanding, we gain a sense of control.

Everyone grieves differently. Our cultural and religious experiences, the circumstances of the death and our relationship with the person who died influence our reactions to grief.

If someone dies after a long illness, there may be a momentary sense of relief that the pain is over.  If a death is sudden and unexpected, shock and a feeling of numbness may occur.  If a young person dies there is a sense that things are out of order and that life is not the way it is supposed to be.



THE NEXT STEP: What You Can Do: