Understanding Grief

Dec 6, 2020Other, Bereavement & Grief, Counselling

Understanding Grief

Feelings of griefThis week is National Grief Week – 2nd – 8th December 2020.

Hi, I’m Linda. I’m a hypnotherapist and counsellor specialising in helping adults with stress and anxiety and bereavement and loss.

I also help people who are anticipating loss or those animal lovers who have lost a pet. I work with individual adults who self-refer, companies that want to provide their employees help, and people referred from their doctor.

If you are bereaved I offer you my sincere condolences.

Today I thought that I would write something down that might help if you are grieving due to losing a loved one.

From my experience, understanding grief will help.

What is grief?

Grief can happen to anyone.

We get no choice. If we love, we grieve.”
Thomas Lynch

Grief relates to emotions after the loss of someone or something. These emotions can be positive or negative and they often go through stages or cycles.

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”
C.S Lewis

Sometimes the feelings are confusing because the grief process becomes an inner turmoil as you try to adapt to the changes that you are experiencing.

Some days you might feel numb. You might also have thoughts of searching and feel restless. Other days you might feel angry, tearful, guilty, despairing, disorganised or get that sense of intense yearning. You might feel disorientated as you feel uncertain about the future ahead. That’s normal.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
Earl Grollman

Maybe you are pleased that the person died to stop the suffering. You might feel that happy release or you might feel that empty gut feeling. You could be noticing how much extra time you have now. That’s normal too in your circumstances.

What is the difference between grief, bereavement and mourning?

Bereavement is the process you go through when you experience a loss.

Grief is the emotional part of bereavement.

Mourning is about the rituals that are part of the process of loss. For example, some people were black when they are mourning.

If you have lost someone you probably have lots of emotions that feel scary because your world has changed.

Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Queen Elizabeth II

How long will grief last?

There is no grieving timetable as we are all different. We don’t go through the exact steps or stages of grief either. Modern-day thinking suggests that we have continuing bonds with the person that we loved, So going through the grieving process is not about forgetting the person you have lost.  Added to this the circumstances of the death will be different for different people so this will also affect the grief time.

Our grief is as individual as our lives.”
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The circumstances of the death could influence the grieving process. Some deaths are expected while others are sudden.

It also depends on the type of relationship that you had with the person you have lost. If you had a long and close relationship it may be more difficult than if it was a distant relative who died.

The method of death may affect some people more than others. For example, the loss of a person who has taken their own life may be difficult to comprehend. A traumatic death may also be difficult to deal with.

Some people have lots of support from friends, family and professionals such as the doctor or counsellor. In contrast, some people have relationship problems after a death. Good support will help a lot in the grieving process.

Some people have other problems to deal with at the same time like health-related issues or financial problems.

Unfortunately, some people get memories triggered to previous losses that they have not grieved with sufficiently.

It is generally considered that you bounce between grief and restorative feelings.  The grief should become less intense after a few weeks and you will be able to cope with the usual daily activities within a few months. However, for some people it can take a year or more before you are feeling okay.

Grieving is a normal process so most people find that the pain will ease by itself.

Any grief that takes longer will need professional help.

What helps grief?

Getting help

Talk to friends and family. Tell them how you are feeling. Ask for help with chores if you need to.

If the grief gets worse or fails to improve after a few weeks you should get some professional support. Speak to your doctor or a counsellor. This is especially important if you are having suicidal thoughts.

You could also contact a bereavement charity such a Cruse Bereavement Care Samaritans or Griefchat.

Looking after yourself

You might need to take some time off work or reduce your hours for a while. Eat a well-balanced diet, go for a walk if you can and make contact with your friends and family.

Accepting your loss

It’s not about ‘letting go’, rather its about the meaning and understanding you can bring to the situation you are in.

Reaching out to others who may also be grieving

Support from others who are experiencing grief often helps.

Doing small tasks

For example, write a journal. Writing helps you to organise the thoughts by putting them down on paper.

Create a memory box of the things you treasure from the person you have lost.

Start a new hobby or continue with a hobby or sport that you enjoy.

Give yourself some time to adjust

Be kind to yourself. You are not weak if you cry. You can cope.


Times can feel difficult but you can get through this.

If you need some help, I am a private practitioner with many years experience of helping adults with bereavement. I listen and help you to find the way to feel better again. Please contact me for more information.







Awaken the Change is about Focusing Minds for Positive Results

Awaken the Change is a self-help service providing education and information.

Linda sees clients at her practice in Bournemouth, in the UK. She is also happy to provide online help via webcam for hypnotherapy, counselling and supervision. Counselling and supervision can also be provided by telephone.

Linda is an accredited trainer and supervisor.

Linda Witchell
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