Learning of the death of someone you love, can be a traumatic experience.  Often we try to deny it. "No. He can't be dead. I only talked to him yesterday. It must be a mistake." This is a natural reactions- in fact, tit is the first stage of the grieving process. Understanding your grief won't necessarily lessen the pain, but can help you survive such a distressing time.
Unfortunately, we aren't taught how to prepare for the death of someone close to us, although grief is one of the strongest emotions we'll ever have to bear. It can produce feelings of loss, helplessness and sadness that are very difficult to cope with.

There is no easy way around grief. It is a natural response to the loss of someone special or something we value. Grief is not well understood in our society and some people try to deny it, postpone it or avoid it - there will be big and small adjustments which have to be made in your life. You will change. Your routine will change. Your moods will change. All of this is called 'grief'. It is really about adapting to the changes in your life, your thoughts your hopes your beliefs and your future. One of the most important things to bear in mind is, you will feel normal again.  It will take time but your pain will be replaced by acceptance.

If you need to talk, or just a kind listener, you can phone Lifeline, 24 hours a day on 131114, or GriefLine on 1300845745 (Between 12 noon and 3am).  Both services are free of charge.


There is no set pattern to follow when you are grieving. Even members of the one family who are mourning the loss of the same person, will show their grief in diverse ways. (see my Links page for Grief Resources)

This happens because we are all different in,
How we cope with stress
How we communicate emotions  
The relationship you had with the person
The circumstances under which the death occurred
The support you have around you 
Personal issues which may be brought to the surface at this time

Some common grief reactions include:
Crying (I can't cry or will I ever stop crying)
Anger (How could they leave me? Or, It's not fair.)
Relief (I'm glad the suffering is over)
Shock (I can't believe it)
Numbness (I'm not feeling anything)
Guilt (If only ...........)
Frustration (Why don't people understand me ?)
Panic (How will I cope?)
Depression (I don't care anymore)
Fear (What if I can't cope?)
Low Energy (I'm too tired)
Confusion (I can't think straight)
Rejection (How could they do this to me)
Emptiness (I feel like something is always missing)

Grief usually does not last forever - even though at first, grieving people may believe "I'll never get over this". The length of time the grieving process takes will vary from person to person, and in a family situation this variation can cause tension. Grief is a very important thing! Each of us grieves in our own way over different periods of time.Some people take up to two years to feel normal again, others a shorter time. We all need space and time to grieve if we are to get over the loss and get on with our lives.

When a death is sudden, or the result of an accident or suicide, or if a young person has died, the words of  Rainer Maria Rilke may offer some comfort:

On unanswered questions by Rainer Maria Rilke
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love
the questions themselves. . . . Don't search for the answers, which could no tbe given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is,to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

The Bereavement Care Centre offers counselling and resources to help to deal with grief Bereavement Care

  • listen to them
  • don't be afraid to talk about the person who has passed away
  • resist giving advice
  • listen to them
  • help in practical ways
  • don't put a time limit on grief
  • listen to them
  • remember anniversaries, birthdays etc.

There are some useful books and articles that can help:
  • Coping With Grief by Mal McKissock, ABC Books
  • In My Own Way - The Bereavement Journal by Dianne & Mal McKissock, ABC Books

Elaine Searle
 mob. 0402810062          
email: of Practice for Funeral Celebrants

 Growing through grief                                

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