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Because our relationship with those we love is unique, the way we grieve at a time of loss is different for each of us. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, just our own way.
Our society today does not make it easy for us to grieve. Grief is a process, not a state and in order to reestablish our own lives, we need to be allowed to grieve successfully. Grief is a natural response to a loss and it takes time to work through.
There are many stages of grief. You may or may not experience all or any of them, as grief is an individual response. Some of the stages are listed below. It is important that you do not try to grieve to these stages, as the feelings and emotions you experience will come naturally.
Particularly if the death is sudden, there is a sense of shock, and numbness. Shock is there as a type of “protector”. Initially it saves you from the harshness of what has happened. It may last for hours or even days.
You don’t believe the death has occurred. (It hasn’t happened feeling.)
As the shock wears off, you will experience many mixed feelings. These feelings need to be expressed and worked through.
Why have they left me alone? Why has God done this to me? Why wasn’t it someone else? These questions and many more you will ask yourself over and over again.
Guilt always seems to be experienced, and questions such as, did I do enough? or could I have done more? or should it have been me? are often asked.
Is the feeling that you cannot cope.
A feeling of isolation and withdrawal from normal activity.
Tiredness, listlessness, aches of various kinds, coldness and/or sweating.
It is important that you work through your feelings one at a time and don’t bottle them up.
No one can tell you how to cope with your grief as it is an individual experience. Try to avoid alcohol, or drugs such as sedatives as these can suppress your normal reactions and can cause problems later.
As time goes by you will find you are able to talk more about your loss and your loved one. Slowly you will start to get back into a normal routine. While you are experiencing grief it is important not to cut yourself off from your family and friends as you will need their support.
Try to talk to someone who is understanding and that you can trust, as it can be helpful to bring your feelings out into the open.
There is no time limit to ones grief. It can take months even years to work through.
Acceptance of your loss is the final stage of your grief.
There is comfort in the knowledge that there is always someone there to listen and help. If you feel you just can’t cope with what is happening, and you feel you need outside help, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Your Doctor, Minister, or Funeral Director at Cleveland's is trained to understand what you are going through and if needed can refer you to counsellors, who will listen and help without judgement. Feel free to speak to us about our grief support groups. We also have access to many different books that may be helpful to you.