How to Cope with a Bereavement in the Family

how to handle a death in family

Death is a fact of life, but knowing this does not make it any easier to cope when a loved one passes. To a certain extent, the death of an elderly relative is, of course, sad, but it is not unexpected. You will grieve their loss, especially if you were close to them, but you accept that it was their time to go.

Bereavement is very different when a parent, sibling, or child dies, especially if the death was sudden or occurred in tragic circumstances. In these instances, coping with bereavement can seem like an impossible task. The voice in your head tells you that life goes on, but knowing it and accepting it are two different things.

No two people experience grief in the same way, but the following advice might help you deal with this difficult period in your life, and if you have children, it could help you to help them.

It’s OK to be Sad

In some societies, death is acknowledged out in the open, but in our society, we brush grief under the carpet. Many people are uncomfortable with overt grief. They find it hard to know how to deal with a crying, distraught person, so they stay away.

If you are grieving the death of a loved one, it’s natural to feel as if you should hide your feelings. This is, even more, the case if you have children, as we instinctively feel as if we should be “strong”. However, burying your feelings of grief and sadness is not healthy. Bereavement is a time to express your negative emotions. You will be sad, and possibly angry if the person has left you unexpectedly. It really is OK to express these feelings, even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

Take Care of Yourself

Look after yourself. Try to eat regular meals and make sure you get enough sleep. Don’t be in a rush to get back to “normal” life. Give yourself time to recover from the emotional shock of the bereavement and treat yourself with compassion.

Many people find it helps them to stick to a routine: cooking meals, walking the dog and doing normal things. It reminds them that life must go on.

Consider Grief Counselling

Bereavement is a difficult time, so don’t be afraid to seek online counseling or make an appointment to see a therapist. Ask your doctor for a referral if necessary.

Talk about the Person

Talking about the person who died will be hard in the beginning, but it does help. It benefits children to talk about a parent or loved one. Let them discuss happier times and talk about how much they loved the person. Look through old photos and share your recollections together. The person may have passed, but they can still live on in your memories.

Bereavement is never easy, but the raw pain does eventually pass. One day, you will wake up and know that the worst is behind you.

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