Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bereavement in our Modern British Society

There is nothing more certain in life than death (and probably a few taxes too!)…Yet as a ‘Modern British Society’ we are often unprepared for the bereavement journey when a loved one departs this life. We no longer have an official period of mourning and the number of times my
clients comment on this is, simply, staggering. As a ‘Modern British Society’ we seem to have lost that strong traditional method of saying goodbye and preparing for the next phase of life.
Clients often comment that, “people do not realise what I am going through; I have to act like nothing has happened”. My clients often talk of a wish to wear a black arm band or wear black for a year, as an outward sign that they are still in mourning for the loss of those dearly departed.
When we suffer bereavement; it is like an invisible cloak of isolation and loneliness which the outside world cannot see and therefore does not register. Life must go on and no matter how hard it can be…Life does go on.
Initially people rally around to help but soon our lives return to normal patterns, and people call less, assuming that the bereaved person is coping or it may be that they themselves find talking about the grief very difficult, and avoid contact.
The grief process can be a very long part of the bereavement journey. It is commonly thought that there are 5 stages connected with the grief process. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I wholeheartedly agree with this but they do not come in order and often people can be in more than one stage at a time. Everyone is individual and the
bereavement journey is longer for some than for others.
During periods of bereavement, and through-out the 5 stages
of the grief process, family support is incredibly important. The grief process, however, is different for each person and your family will be experiencing loss at different stages of the grief process, this can cause a strain on relationships both inside and outside of the family.
Bereavement sometimes brings unwelcome feelings and counselling is the only place to safely explore these new feelings. The grief process may have 5 stages but it has no structure and no easy pathway to redemption; my clients have explored feelings connected with guilt, anger, and
relief, especially if the deceased had a long illness. Bereavement may also
bring to the surface pervious losses and how we coped with them. If they were
not dealt with then these latent, almost forgotten, feelings can become painful
again…Resisting such feelings stalls the grief process and the bereavement
journey.
Counselling helps at a time of bereavement because verbalising our feelings can help us to understand the depth of our feelings and the way that they are making us feel. By talking about our feelings in a safe, caring and empathetic environment we are able to explore how they really
make us feel and not how we think we should feel.

For confidential counselling contact Isobel Harper on 01223 315400 or 07967561031 or www.isobelharper.co.uk

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