People who are deprived of something important to them might be in the state of bereavement. Loss affects all of us one way or another. This occurs mostly when you lose someone close to you or a family member, relative or dear friend dies. In this post, we wanted to explain to you the bereavement meaning as well as offering you helpful ways to cope with it.
What Is Bereavement?
Bereavement is a common and normal state of sadness associated with a closed one’s departure from this world. It is related to mourning and grief, and has multiple stages, being a complex process. All these mixed feelings and inner emotional experiences are our mind and soul’s way to adjust to a certain loss, which changes our life. Feeling sad and lonely, even though you might receive the support of those around you, is quite normal during bereavement.
It might surprise you that bereavement can also be felt in other situations, different than someone’s death. For example, kids can feel it when their close friends move away to another state. Another good example is when a spouse goes through a divorce, and he/she feels a significant loss of the person they loved.
How Does Bereavement Manifest Itself?
Bereavement might appear in a variety of forms, both emotional and physical ones. An emotional unbalance can cause physical symptoms of pain. All these feelings are typically associated with grief and mourning related to a close one’s death. If you want to speed up the recovery process, you need first to recognize and admit your symptoms. Prolonged grief is one of the most common causes of depression. Moreover, according to statistics, one in ten Americans will eventually face grief and depression at least once during their lifetime.
Emotional pain manifest itself in sadness, negative thoughts, anger, anxiety, guilt, frustration, sense of hopelessness, yearning, and more. When it comes to physical changes, you might experience appetite loss, insomnia, fatigue, head and body aches, and overall weakness. During bereavement, some people might want to detach and isolate themselves from others, including dear ones. They don’t feel like socializing and communication so much. There are changes even at a spiritual level, such as faith loss, questioning life’s meaning and purpose, and more.
The 4 Stages of Bereavement
1. Immediate Shock
This first stage of bereavement occurs immediately after the death of a loved one. There is no standard way of happening, but it usually lasts from several hours to a couple of days. During this phase, people find themselves in a confusing state of disbelief. Still, some exceptions may occur. For example, some of you might act rather detached and calm. Either way, these reactions and emotional responses are understandable and natural.
2. Unable to Accept
After the initial shock comes the feeling that the deceased person is still physically with you. In this stage, you will not be able to accept the fact the someone close to you is gone. Denying the occurrence of the death is a common possibility. Sometimes, family members of those departed go somewhere in their house thinking they will find the deceased person there. Don’t feel freaked out by it, because it is normal.
No matter how much support you receive, you will still feel alone, confused, and lost. You should definitely seek help from friends and even professional help, because this state might last for many months. You will start questioning your faith, in God, yourself, and other people. If you feel like isolating yourself, don’t! Although it is a difficult phase, it will eventually pass.
Finally, after a long and difficult struggle, you will regain your focus, strength, and a pleasure to live. The pain passes, and you can remember the person that died without feeling way too sad or depressed. Try to engage in pleasant activities and interests such as hobbies to recommence your life. Your dear one will always be a part of your soul. So, enable yourself to enjoy the present!
What Is Bereavement Leave?
Most companies let an employee who has lost a family member to take a special paid leave. Still, you must meet specific requirements in order to receive this right. The time off will give you the chance to grieve and recover your inner strength. All employees can receive this leave, no matter their contract or collaboration type with their company. You can have three paid days off if your partner, parent, child or sibling dies. In case another person departs such as a more distant relative, you can receive one paid day as a bereavement leave. If necessary, you can take a bereavement leave once per every twelve months. All employees are entitled to a bereavement time off if they lose one of their dear ones.
How to Cope with the State of Bereavement
Bereavement counseling is an effective way to cope with your inner sadness. Professional help can bring you peace of mind and teach you how to live with loss. You should even consider bereavement preparation, once you know you will be faced with the loss of someone close to you. Although there are no instant fixes, you can try some practical things to help you get through your difficult times.
Effective Ways to Overcome Grief and Loss
- Express yourself. Externalizing your emotions is very helpful during periods of mourning and grief. Talking with others might soothe your painful feelings. If you don’t have a family member or a friend, you can seek a professional counselor’s help.
- Accept the fact that you are sad. Allow yourself to feel sadness. It is a healthy and natural part of the bereavement process.
- Keep doing nice activities that you enjoy. Simple things such as walking your dog can also help.
- Get some rest. Sleep to regain your energy and strength. Emotional strain will make you feel exhausted and drained out. If you suffer from insomnia, you should consult a specialist.
- Keep a balanced diet. Healthy foods help you cope with your grief. Fruits and vegetables provide plenty of nutrients and vitamins that can keep your body from getting sick.
- Don’t develop bad and harmful habits. Things such as smoking or drinking are not effective long-term solutions. In fact, they will make you feel even worse.
Wrapping It Up
Instead of being afraid of bereavement, you should accept it as a natural state of sadness when you suffer from a huge loss. This process takes time, and it is complex. You will probably go through several stages of bereavement. Still, not all people experience this state in the same way. Each of us has unique feelings, and they express grief differently.