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Grief is not a disease, an illness or a sign of weakness; grief is the price we pay for love and loving others; it is a mental emotional, physical and spiritual requisite; - carry on loving in spite of the grief we will inevitably feel after the loss or death of a beloved one". SJS 2014

Everyone throughout their lifetime will feel the loss of someone they love through death. There is no ˜right or ˜wrong" way to work through your loss and arrive at a place of; 'Gracious Remembering' (Parents in Northern Ireland coined this phrase because so many of their children' lives have been lost; death sometimes a daily experience at the heights of the IRA conflicts, shared by John Etok). Whilst the loss of your loved one is truly individual and unique; grief, usually has an overall pattern.

When we lose someone special and unique we also lose the unique relationship we shared with him or her.


We all grieve in a unique way even  when we are mourning the same person.  As a Father you will have shared a different relationship with your Child then if you are a Mother and vice versa.  If the death was of  a grandmother, grandfather an aunty, uncle a sibling, cousin or a friend whatever the relationship each and every person grieving the loss of a loved one is suffering a truly unique personal experience.


After a death many people have probably told you time heals the problem with this statement is that it implies that when time has passed your grief will have passed with it.  Almost as if our sorrow, despair and pain will have dissolved by some unseen energy; so when we find ourselves some time from our initial numbness and shock we may still be feeling deeply bereft and with some intensity. After the death of a Child, our Spouse or our life Partner  for example the intensity may feel as if your precious one has just died and the intensity has not decreased at all this may go on for years.

What time does however is give us some breathing space until we gradually arrive at a time when we feel we may need to let go of the pain and sorrow and begin facing our here and now living.  We may gradually come to realise that we owe it to ourselves, our loved one's who are still sharing our life and to the Person who died. Turning away from our despair and sorrow does not mean leaving our Child or Loved one it means to let go of the pain, despair and sorrow we associate with their death. 


Because the person who died was so much more than pain and it is to the love, laughter and happy memories we can now look towards in remembering and in celebrating their life and the times we shared with them.

To gain insight we need to have clarity of what we want to understand please take a few minutes to read the following descriptions


Trauma - is experienced when we feel we can't escape from what is happening and we lose power and control of the situation, we can't escape, feel trapped, helpless, vulnerable and exposed. Refers to life events which when experienced are emotionally, psychologically, physically and/or spiritually overwhelming.  It deeply distresses, wounds and injures to the point of disruption disturbing and overwhelming our equilibrium and provokes high anxieties which are extremely difficult to handle in the immediacy of the experience.   Trauma shocks and rocks the whole safety and security of the Personage of the Human Being and the normal functioning of that person because the event/s are outside normal functioning and has long lasting affects!

Bereavement - is the fact of the situation the reality of having someone we hold most dear and beloved die.  The origin of the term bereavement means 'the state of being deprived, taken away from, robbed, seized or snatched from'. Bereavement deprives us of the living presence of someone we care about, value and love.



Loss - can be described from a sense all is not well, something negative has happened to the persons involved in an event to the reality or process of losing something or someone “ the condition of being deprived of something, disadvantaged or bereaved of somebody"  Resulting in multi-dimensional changes involving psychological, physical, emotional, social, behavioural, practical, Intellectual and spiritual; this can and often does have an effect on our personal relationships including the relationship we have with our Self.

Grief - refers to our reaction following loss, our emotional response; the complex and sometimes complicated mixture of raw painful emotions ranging from deep sorrow, distress, sadness, despair, confusion, guilt, anger, regret or helplessness.  Grief can manifest in all areas of our personal life, psychological, cogitations, social behaviour, the core of who we are physiological (organism functioning) and somatic (bodily) - there is no separation of mind, body or spirit all are affected as we find ourselves having to give up or let go of what gave meaning to our living and who we deeply loved and treasured.

Mourning - describes the 'doing' of our grief it is the expression of our sorrow, hurt, pain and/or helplessness; it is perhaps the slow process of recognising what we have lost and the wider implication for each of us as individuals and how our life will be different because of the physical absence of our beloved.

Suffering - refers to the state we experience and endure all of the above, it is unpleasant and associated with aversion; it comes at us with intensity it can range from uncomfortable to downright agony, distress, forlornness and desolation.  Suffering sits in the breadth of the space between the reality of 'what is and 'what is desired, wanted and or needed', misery, woe, anguish and sorrow.

  • Fear

  • Physical symptoms

  • You may feel ill

  • Questioning why they left

  • Can't face a future without them

  • Pain - emotional and spiritual

  • Pain - Intellectual and physical

  • Anxious

  • Panicky

  • lonely

  • Abandonded

You may experience and have a mixed pot of feelings following the death of your loved one.   You may feel like you are on a rollercoaster hanging on for dear life OR feel the rollercoaster won't ever stop.   Feelings will ebb and flow for sometime on a daily or hourly basis and this is 'normal'.

You may feel any of the following:

  • Numb

  • Shocked

  • Can't believe its happened (denial)

  • Spaced out

  • Disorientated

  • Angry

  • Guilty

  • Longing

  • Yearning

  • Extremely sad

  • All alone

  • Depressed

  • Asking why, why, why, over and over

  • Why me?  Why Us?  

Gradual Bereavement

Bereavement can also be a 'gradual' process for example when our loved one suffers an illness such as Dementia, Alzheimer's, cancer or long-term illnesses.  This gradual process of grief and feelings of sorrow and mourning may also be felt when we have been able bodied and our wellness, stamina and strength have been lost or reduced and we find our self impaired from disease.  Parent may feel bereft when children grow up and leave home the 'empty nest' syndrome or through divorce and loss of custody or when a child is taken into care, losses due to loss of one's home and possessions or a once enjoyed lifestyle is lost through being made redundant. When this happens we may feel all the effects of being bereaved and we may fall into depression if we do not recognize and acknowledge the affect which these sort of losses brings.

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