Losing someone close to you is devastating. If you have been caring for that person, the loss can seem even greater. How you cope with the death of the person you cared for is a very personal thing. There is no right or wrong way to feel following a death.
Immediately after a death there are a lot of practical things to do, like registering the death and arranging the funeral, and family and friends tend to be around a lot more. It may be that only when all the practicalities are dealt with, and the people around you get back to their everyday lives, that you really start to grieve.
Everyone’s reaction to losing someone is different. There is no right or wrong way to deal with your own grief. Many people find that it is beneficial to listen to their own feelings; to do what’s best for you rather than what other people think is best.
There are no time limits on grief, and no set pattern of emotions and behaviours that everybody follows. Grief does not always happen straight away.
As well as coping with the loss of the person you cared for, you also have to deal with the loss of your caring role. You may feel guilty about feeling relief, but you may also feel exhausted or alone.
The death of the person you cared for may mean that the relationships you built up with the professionals involved in their care come to an end. Carers also talk about losing contact with friends and family because of the demands of their caring role. Picking up old social contacts or meeting new people may be the last thing you feel like doing when you have just lost someone.
The best help and support often comes from the people you know best – and who know you best. You may find that some people seem awkward around you, often because they want to do and say the ‘right thing’ but are not sure what that is. If you feel able, tell the people around you what you need from them and how they can help. Close family and friends may also be able to help you do this.
Talking about what has happened, and about the person who died, can help you to come to terms with their death, and to cope with the feelings you have. Friends and relatives who knew the deceased and can share memories of them with you can be a great source of support. Talking to other people who have been bereaved, and who have a better understanding of what you are going through, can also help.
There are many organisations, such as Cruse Bereavement Care, which run groups for people who are grieving. Your GP can put you in touch with a local bereavement counsellor if you’d like more formal one-to-one counselling. Many hospices also provide bereavement support for the families of people who have used their services.
Cruse Bereavement Care Wolverhampton & Dudley can be contacted on Dudley: 01384 262 878
For information on the practical matters that need to be dealt with following a death visit Carers Uk’s website here