The pain of bereavement
A bereavement can be absolutely devastating. It is a loss and when we love somebody that dies this will feel very painful. Because we are emotionally attached to somebody the loss hurts. In this way, we can also be attached to other things so that when they are lost this will also trigger the grief process. For example a house or a relationship. So there does not have to be an actual death to grieve.
The early feelings of grief can be described as shock, numbness, anger, anxiety, pining, sadness, guilt, low mood, despair and many others. These are normal and will vary from person to person.
Many things will affect how we grieve. For example, we learn and copy how to grieve from our parents or significant carer. Therefore how much we show our feelings or allow ourself to feel our feelings will depend on what we have been shown by a role model for example. It is important to allow ourselves to feel and work through these feelings as they come upon us. People say that eventually they start to feel better and remember happier times and happier memories of the lost person.
The end stage of a bereavement is acceptance and this will come eventually as we work through the grief process which we have got to do in order to work towards acceptance. It is painful and unpleasant but we have got to do it.
It may be that initially after the death of a loved one we may feel as though we feel nothing, just feeling numb and shocked with disbelief. This is normal and helps us to get through the very early days of a loss. We can plan for a funeral, attend the funeral to say our goodbyes and start to work towards eventual closure by doing this. If all of the feelings of grief and loss came at once I would take a guess that it would feel too overwhelming to cope with in those first few hours and days of the loss.
There is no fixed way to grieve, we are all different and so there is not fixed time to grieve. However, if you are feeling stuck in your grief it could well be helpful to seek out an experienced grief counsellor to work through the bereavement issue with you.