Times of change
Over the last few days, we have been part of a huge change for the UK. Not only have we a new Prime Minister, financial and other uncertainties but also the change to our head of state. The Queen is dead. Long live the King.
Sadly, all of us will experience the death of a parent, perhaps siblings, or even a child in our lifetime. Yet as a society it is something we don’t talk about and many don't think about or plan for. And that is perhaps what might be different between the death of someone we may experience and how the State planned for the death of the Queen.
Even though things will have been thought of and planned in advance, the Royal family’s reaction to the death of a much-loved parent, grandparent and aunt will be much the same as those of us not in the public spotlight.
Hypnotherapy for bereavement
As a therapist, I have worked with many clients experiencing the death of a loved one or dear friend, either through natural causes or accidents. I’ve also worked as a volunteer therapist in a day hospice helping people cope with diagnosis and sometimes with their own, imminent, death. I’ve also lived through the deaths of both my parents and that of my parents-in-law. It can’t not affect you.
Your life changed in that moment. You are no longer the son or daughter, with an older person ahead of you in the line, so to speak. It can change one’s perception of you and your role. It can make you question your life so far. It can make you realise how much you will miss them and the gap that is left in your life because they are no longer around. Whilst hard, these are all natural, normal, reactions to have.
You may even shed a few tears. And you may find yourself laughing as you remember good times.
Over the next few days and weeks, you may find yourself thinking back to your own experiences of death and recalling those who have died. You may even shed a few tears. And you may find yourself laughing as you remember good times. We can experience both sadness and laughter seconds apart. It’s normal for people to react and respond in this way.
At times you might feel that there is no point in going on with your life. The hurt is too much to bear. Know that these strong painful emotions do pass, they get less over time. You adjust to living with the gap that is left by that person. Feeling foggy-headed, forgetful, unsure, and lacking confidence can also be experienced. There seems to be a need to withdraw into yourself in order to heal.
As people, we try to avoid feeling uncomfortable and so when we do go through a time of grieving we don’t like how horrible it feels. We want to avoid those painful emotions. Unfortunately, we can’t run away from them. We can learn to ‘sit’ with them. To acknowledge that they are there and be understanding with ourselves and those around us who are reacting in this way to a huge change in their lives. There may be feelings of guilt, or anger as well as those of sadness and loss. Our sleep patterns can also be affected.
One thing that I have learned is that we need to give ourselves time to grieve. A week off work is unlikely to make much of a difference. I don’t necessarily mean we take a year off or six months off work. It is important to acknowledge that adjustment can take a while, especially if the death was unexpectedly sudden.
Helping yourself when grieving
There are things you can do to help yourself:
- You can write down your thoughts and feelings.
- You can write a letter to the person who died. This can be helpful, particularly, if there are things you didn’t get a chance to say in person.
- You can make time to remember them and acknowledge your feelings and know that despite how you feel in the moment the feelings will change and get less.
- You can talk to others. These might be family members or friends. There are also organisations such as Samaritans, whom you can call, text or email for support. They are not just for those who are having suicidal thoughts.
- Seek counselling or therapy. If you want longer-term support then there are many charities such as CRUSE that can provide counselling. Or you can speak to your GP.
- There are many books that cover grief and bereavement. They can be helpful if you don’t want to talk about things.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s different for everyone. One thing is common. It does change as we adapt and learn to live our lives without that person around.
If you'd like to learn more about how hypnotherapy can support you in times of grief, you can reach out to me below or another therapist on Hypnotherapy Directory.