Bereavement, Loss and Grief

I have now retired but will continue to keep this web site live for  year as a resource in case it is helpful to people.

At some point most people will experience bereavement, loss or grief in their lives. It may feel too overwhelming to deal with and it might be that you don’t want to inflict your feelings on other people in your circle of friends and family.

Grief is a reaction to loss and it can include all sorts of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Everyone experiences it differently depending on their culture, gender, beliefs, personality, and their relationship to the the person they have lost.

Losing someone whether it is through a death or the ending of a relationship can be equally as difficult.

The feelings associated with a bereavement and loss are often the most intense that someone may ever feel. Death in this society is a taboo subject & is consequently avoided- so, therefore, is the passing on of experience & skill in dealing with it on an emotional level.

You may feel sadness and yearning but you might also experience guilt, regret, anger, depression and a sense of meaninglessness. You might have a sense of relief and liberation depending on the circumstances. You may be surprised by the strength of your emotions or how mild they are, which may contradict your expectations. They might be confusing too, you may even find yourself missing a relationship that wasn’t all it could have been.

It can be comforting to know that this process does usually come to an end but it varies from person to person, sometimes as little as two weeks and it can sometimes be two years before you may feel you have passed through this part of your life.

You may also feel joy, contentment, relief and even some humour whilst you are going through the worst possible loss, which can bring on feelings of disloyalty or guilt.

You may be familiar with the five stages of grief described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), it is know now that we cope with grief not in any linear or cyclical order but in a dual process described by Stroebe and Schut where we go backwards and forwards between the experience of loss (sadness, anger, yearning, crying) and the experience of restoration (feeling “normal,” joy, contentment, laughing), which gives us an opportunity for respite from attending to our grief without rest or relief. We can sometimes even get stuck in one area of the grief cycle.

Once you feel that you are able to begin to consider moving forward, we would work together to find out what you genuinely want from life, and to take control of it and make the decisions needed to help achieve the desires by making a Working   “Life- Purpose”   Plan.

Suicide: Another area of loss which is affecting more people every year is suicide. The numbers of people self harming or committing suicide is increasing enormously and very fast in the culture we have built.

This is an even more complex area of loss and all sorts of complicated feelings can be left with the survivors, feelings which seem to be conflicting, including loss but also guilt or blame or stigma. It can be even harder to mourn the loss when these other issues are in the way.

If you are feeling suicidal and you feel you need to talk urgently then please call the Samaritans on 116123 who have people standing by all day and night.


Updated 5/6/19