The loss of a loved one, whether human or pet, can cause deep pain and stress. It may add to the stress already in your life or be the event which pushes you over the edge into depression. Grief has a well-recognised cycle lasting about two years in most cases and during this time you should show yourself patience and compassion.
Grieving children are often overwhelmed by the power of their feelings including sadness, anger, guilt and fear. Children need help and support to find ways to counter the pain they try to avoid and suppress through confirming their sense of security.
Common reactions to the loss of a loved one
Grieving is a healthy process and you can expect to experience some of the following:
- Numbness, shock or disbelief, especially if the death was unexpected;
- Anxiety about how you will cope without your loved one;
- Distress and tearfulness including waves of emotion which may feel overwhelming;
- Dreams about your loved one or imagining that you can see, hear, sense or smell them;
- Anger at the unfairness of the loved one leaving you, especially if the death was not expected;
- Difficulty with day-to-day activities;
- Feeling that nothing matters or that we cannot survive the pain.
Take this questionnaire to find out if your grief has become complicated and needing a discussion with your GP.