Today, I’m going to write about something which has been a massive part of my life over the last three years; bereavement and grief. I’m very lucky in that I’ve only ever lost one family member in my life and, at the ripe old age of 25, I’ve only ever been to three funerals (one of which was in January). This week marks three years since I lost my Dad in an accident at home – if you’ve been here a while, you may have read some of my very first posts, detailing what had happened because I started my blog as a release for all of the emotions that I felt at the time; it is only recently that it has become more beauty related in the last year but I wanted a more personal perspective twist on my blog this year and I hope you enjoy this post as the start of this glimpse into my life.
Firstly, if you have lost someone, please remember you are not alone and there’s a lot of people that will relate to you and your experiences. Of course, no one can replicate that particular relationship that you’ve had with the one that you’ve lost but there are always similarities into the way you are feeling. My best piece of advice is to talk about your feelings and why you feel like you do. When my Dad passed away, I felt very numb and, after reading through articles when it had just happened, this is a very common feeling. The pain won’t go away, but you will learn to cope and live with those feelings much easier over time. Time is a great healer and you will have your good days and your bad days. I really wish someone had said that to me after I lost my Dad, because it is very true; although it’s been three years and I thought I was coping with it much better, I made the mistake of going on a course on the actual ‘anniversary’ of my Dad’s death and I felt extremely emotional – to the point where I was unable to finish the last day of the course! Again, this is completely normal and people are more understanding than you probably give them credit for.
Okay, so that’s a brief overview and the things that I wish someone had told me before starting the whole grieving process. But if we go back to basics and strip it down, what actually is bereavement and grief? This is the process of ‘mourning’ after you have lost someone you love and this could be through death or even a relationship break down, although some may argue that these are two separate types but I have experienced both and there are definite similarities.
There are loads of different ‘phases’ of bereavement, but really, it varies depending on how you personally deal with it. Some people get angry, some people get very down and depressed. Generally, there are five different stages that you can experience, and these are outlined here. You might feel like you’re not going through these phases, but that’s completely fine. Every person is different.
Remember, you’re not the only one suffering. I managed to push friends away because I was extremely absorbed in my grief and it is only now that I have started to rebuild relationships that I managed to break down without really realising. If it’s a family member you have lost, your other family members are most likely feeling the same so try to confide with them. For me, I felt like I couldn’t confide in my Mum or my brother; not because we didn’t have a strong relationship but because of the circumstance of how my Dad had died, I didn’t wish to upset them by recalling what had happened. So last year, in September, I started going to bereavement counselling, which I felt helped me massively as I could address everything I wanted to in my own time and cover whatever I felt comfortable talking about, to someone who didn’t know anything about me. Even through a few months of seeing the same lady, I feel like a completely different person this year. Another way I have learned to cope with my grief and bereavement is to do something good and positive in memory of my Dad. I give to Cancer Research every birthday, anniversary, Father’s Day and Christmas, as my Dad had fought cancer three times within his life and was a key fundraiser for cancer charities. On his anniversary, I eat ham, egg and chips, which was his favourite meal, and I drink a pint of cider with three ice cubes in it, which is what he ordered from the pub; I find it helps me to remember the little things about my Dad.
There’s no set time for you to grieve for a loss and every person is completely different. My counsellor says it takes around seven years for the initial shock of losing a loved one to fade a little, but that’s not to say that you’re not going to have good days and bad days. If you feel like you are not coping with your loss, you should seek some help and go to see your GP for any advice.
I hope this helps some of you with showing you some examples of how I’ve been dealing with my bereavement for three years. Don’t be afraid to Google any information as I found it helped loads to work out how I was feeling and what I was going through. You are not alone.