Burial or Cremation

When an Irish citizen dies abroad

The Funeral of a Child
Pre-Paid Funerals
Life can change rapidly when someone close to you has died. Many times, it makes little difference whether the death is expected or sudden; persons frequently experience painful feelings of shock, disbelief, anxiety, anger, guilt and sadness. Feelings of grief like these are very normal but may be experienced differently by each individual. Grieving is the process of going through these painful feelings and learning to live without that special person in your life.

It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and people react differently to death. The level of support you have and the relationship you had with the person who has died or your previous experience of loss and death, often times determine the way you experience grief and the way you will be affected by it.

You may experience some of the following emotional and physical reactions when someone close to you dies.

You may experience disbelief and the initial response to bad news is often one of disbelief - you feel what has happened is unreal, almost like a bad dream. The sense of disbelief can stay with you for some time.

If you are in a state of shock you may feel numb, stunned, bewildered and unable to think properly. In some ways shock protects you from the full impact of the death. The sense of numbness will start to fade in a few days or weeks, although it may return from time to time.

You may have a sense of longing for the person who has died. You want to see, hear, hold, and talk to him/her. At times you may find yourself looking for the person and feel you have seen or heard him/her, perhaps in a crowd or familiar place.

People frequently feel angry at the unfairness of life or at God for allowing the death to happen. It is also common to feel angry with yourself, family or friends or with those who were involved with caring at the time of the illness and death. You may also be angry with the deceased for leaving you at this time. This is a normal response to a loss.

There is a tendency to go over the events surrounding the death again and again. Bereaved people may blame themselves for things done or left undone, words said or left unsaid. If you feel there was something you could have done to prevent the death, it is important to remember that people sometimes make decisions over which you have no control. You may find yourself focusing on a difficult time in your relationship. Remember that happy and unhappy times are a feature of all relationships. Feelings of guilt are normal though, often not justified. It is best to discuss these feelings with someone you trust.

At times, you may feel you cannot bear the pain any longer and think you won't survive this loss. It helps to talk about this despair to someone close to you or to your doctor or other professional you know.

Depression is a feeling of overwhelming sadness and hopelessness that is often experienced following bereavement. You lose interest in everything and ordinary everyday tasks require a lot of effort. Other symptoms may include difficulty with sleep, appetite problems, crying continuously or inability to cry, withdrawal from family and friends, poor concentration and forgetfulness. These symptoms are a normal part of the grief process. If they become very intense and are experienced over a long period of time, advice from a doctor is advisable.

Following bereavement feelings of anxiety are common. You may feel very vulnerable, lose confidence in yourself and in the world, fear for the well being of others and perhaps fear that something else terrible will happen. You may doubt your ability to cope and be slow to admit this to yourself or others for fear of losing control and anxiety may lead to panic attacks.

The loss of a special relationship leaves you feeling sad, lonely and empty. You are without the love and understanding of that person. Eventually, others appear to get on with their own lives and you may be feeling very alone. Friends and family may withdraw because they feel helpless. When you have lost a partner or close friend you may be especially lonely because you are without the person with whom you shared everyday activities.

It is normal to feel relieved that the person's suffering is over. It is also normal to feel relieved that a person with whom you had a difficult relationship is no longer here and you can begin a new life. Many people find that there were aspects of the deceased's personality that they will not miss. You may feel guilty about these feelings buy they are a normal part of grief.

Don't be frightened by the intensity of the pain you may be feeling. When someone dies who was an important part of your life you are mourning not only for the person who has died but also for the hopes, plans and expectations you had with and for that person that will not be unfulfilled.

Suggestions that may help you through your grief:

  • It helps to talk about the person who has died and about how their death is affecting you.
  • Don't distance yourself from people. It is good to spend time with people who care about you. Let them know how you are feeling and accept their support.
  • Give yourself time. Do not have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Don't compare yourself to others and how they have coped with their loss. Grief comes and goes, expect to have good and bad days.
  • Where possible don't make major changes in your life during this time. If you must, discuss them with people you trust.
  • Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to make you feel better.
  • Take time for yourself. Do things you enjoy. Exercise can help to work off stress. Get plenty of rest and try to eat well.
  • You may find that keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings can help.
  • There are many books available on bereavement which can help you understand what you are going through. Bereavement counselling or joining a bereavement group may also help you work though your grief.
  • It can help to understand that birthdays, anniversaries or other special times can bring up painful feelings you thought you had overcome.
  • Don't feel guilty about having good times. Plan things you enjoy and to which you can look forward.

For Counselling Support Visit:
Citizens Information Website

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