Grief is how a bereavement affects us personally. It’s what we experience when we lose something or someone important to us. This experience can be particularly hard when someone close to us dies.
Coping with loss means making sense of the loss and learning to live without that person.
How to manage grief
In this Aware Ireland talk, Dr. Susan Delaney discusses coping with loss. She talks about grief resolution, how others see grieving and how to manage grief.
Helping yourself cope with loss
If you’ve experienced a loss, there are a number of things that will help you as you grieve:
- be gentle with yourself. Your energy may be low for a while so do not place too many demands on yourself.
- look after your physical health. You may find you’ve lost your appetite. However, it’s important that you eat healthily. Many people find eating small but frequent meals helpful. It’s also important to try to get some exercise; even a small walk each day can be beneficial.
- make sure you get enough rest and sleep. This will help you avoid becoming run down or physically ill.
- seek out support from others who are willing to listen. Talking is important because it helps you express what you’re feeling. Try to find one or two people with whom you can simply be yourself and who’ll allow you to talk when you need to.
- allow yourself to experience the feelings that come with bereavement, even if they’re difficult. It can be helpful to talk these over with someone you trust. This could be a family member, although it’s important to remember they are grieving too. Sometimes, talking to someone outside the family can be beneficial.
- don’t rush things. You’re trying to come to terms with a major upheaval in your life. Give yourself permission to take things a bit easier. In general, it’s best to put off making major decisions such as moving home or changing jobs for at least six months to a year.
Where To Go For Help
It’s important to understand that grief is a normal part of experiencing loss.
Everyone grieves differently, and most people experiencing grief won’t require more than general support and information. For those who require additional support, resources are available.
To understand the levels of bereavement support, take a look at the Pyramid of Bereavement Support.
- If you’ve been bereaved through a hospice death, it’s likely a bereavement support service will be available in the hospice. Contact the hospice where the death occurred.
- If you’ve been bereaved through an acute hospital, the hospital may provide bereavement support. Contact the hospital social work department or chaplaincy service.
- For bereaved families, Anam Cara provide peer support for both parents and children and maintain online bereavement support forums. Also. for the bereaved parents of an infant visit this Irish Pregnancy and loss web site.
- For children and young people who have lost someone close to them, visit Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service.
- If you have been bereaved through suicide, you can contact Pieta House.
- If you feel you need immediate support, call The Samaritans 24 hour free phone line at 116 123.
- For practical information including what to do following a death, money matters, and counselling visit Citizens Information or pop into your local centre. Find your closest centre.
If you need to speak to a professional
These organisations will be able to furnish you with the names of qualified therapists who specialise in issues of loss and grief:
- The Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), tel. 01-2303536.
- The Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy, tel. 01-2841665.
- The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), tel. 01-4720105
- Turning Point in Dublin tel. 01-2801603 offers bereavement counselling services.