What can a bereaved person or someone facing the loss of a loved one do to help themselves?

Bereavement is always a difficult time, but there are things you can do to help yourself through it

Before someone dies

If you have the opportunity, prepare for the death of someone you are close to.  It is important emotionally and practically to talk things over.  If you are preparing for the death of your partner and it is alright with them, discuss such things as the jobs they do that you will need to take over, and sort out finances etc.  Say all the things you want to say.

Directly after a bereavement

Carefully consider whether you want to see the body of the dead person.  Some people may feel this is too distressing but can regret it later on if they have not done this.  Follow your own feelings.  There is no right or wrong thing to do, but do think it through.

Funeral arrangements should be considered carefully.  Try to have someone with you.  Do not feel pressured into a funeral that is too expensive for your budget.  Try and think about what you really want.

In the days, weeks and months following a bereavement

  • Try not to make major changes in your life, such as selling your house, moving areas, jobs etc, until you have had time to adjust to the death.  This is a time when people may make changes they can regret.
  • Do make sure you look after your own health.  Try to eat well, rest properly, take extra care.  You may want to take vitamin supplements if your appetite is very poor.
  • Talk to people about how you feel.  Do not bottle things up.  Go to your doctor if you feel you have no one you can talk to.  He or she may suggest speaking to a counsellor.  Ask for help if you feel you are not coping.
  • If your health is not good, consult your doctor.
  • Try to keep in contact with and maintain relationships with other people.  Find out about local events, groups, clubs and classes.
  • Do not enter into new financial arrangements without proper advice.  Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
  • Do not turn to drinking alcohol or taking drugs to get you over this difficult time.
  • If you feel you are “stuck” or not coping at all well with your grief, then contact your doctor to discuss this.