We all experience grief and loss in a different way. There is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a loved one. Here are our top tips to help you and those around you during this difficult time.
Read Time: 3 Mins
When we experience the loss of a loved one it’s difficult to predict how we will react and what we need. For this reason, tension can build up as close relations grieve differently, or fail to understand how you feel. For one of our co-founders, her reaction was to visit friends and keep going after the sudden passing of her father. This caused some anguish within her family unit as they wanted to be all together.
There are 3 common ways people react to a sudden loss:
- Abandoning: It’s common for some people to walk away during a time of extreme loss. This helps the person understand their emotions in a private and personal way. For some people this act of removing oneself from the situation can be viewed as showing a lack of care. This is not true. Instead, the person grieving simply needs time alone to understand what has happened, and what to do next. This process can take weeks, months or even years to overcome, but can be helped through the use of mental health and wellness services.
2) Holding On: For some the act of losing a loved on is too much for them to understand. This can lead to denial and episodes of sudden emotional change as they try to understand their emotions. For those looking on the outside, this type of response can appear erratic and unbalanced. It’s important to give this person reassurance and additional help, if their emotional wellbeing is in danger.
3) Matter of Fact: This type of response is less common than the previous two but just as important. For a person responding in this way, they will appear to accept the loss and will strive to finalise all of the actions that need to follow after a persons passing. This person appears to have a hard outer shell that is often used to lean on for those experiencing negative emotions. However, for the matter of fact people emotions of loss and grief can come later in life during a moment of stress or emotional weakness.
What can we do?
For those experiencing their first reactions to loss, it’s important that the people around them are present or easily contactable. This opens up the opportunity for conversation, helping the person experiencing loss and those around them understand how each person feels.
You can help ensure your friend or family member is in a position where they feel comfortable to talk by: reassuring them, checking in on them daily via text or in person, ensuring that they are eating and sleeping, or by offering small distractions such as a walk or film.
Visit our Helpful Websites page for links to helplines and other centres. There’s no shame in asking for help.