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Grieving

Grief is part of life for everyone. Everyone in a family is affected when someone dies. Dealing with the death of someone close is hard at any age. This page contains some very useful information and tips to help ease the grieving process.

On this page you will find the following:

 

When someone close to you dies, your life is turned upside down and can be changed in many ways. The time of bereavement following a death is a time to adjust to these changes. If the person had been sick for some time, you may have begun to grieve before the death. Spending time with someone you loved after they have died can be an important part of your journey of saying goodbye to that very special person. It is important you allow time for yourself and others close to the loved one to have the opportunity to say goodbye in this manner if they choose. If this is the first time you, or members of your family, have been around someone who has died, you might feel anxious about what it will be like, or what you should do. Many people are worried or unsure about what the appearance of the person who has died will be like. 

Helping you accept what has happened 

Sometimes it is hard to believe what has happened when someone dies, especially if it is a sudden or unexpected death. Seeing the person who has died can begin the process of believing that the death is real and coming to terms with it. 

A chance to say what you need to say 

Bereaved people often feel overwhelmed by many intense emotions. For many, spending time with someone who has died gives them an opportunity to express some of these feelings and feel some relief. Others appreciate the opportunity to see the body of a person they love for the last time, though they will always feel a connection with them in their hearts. 

 

Spending time with someone who has died

 

 

Grief is our natural response to loss. It’s like our fingerprints: everyone is unique in the way they experience and express their grief, and each loss is different, just like the different fingers of your hands. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Men and women often show their grief in different ways, and sometimes find it hard to understand or support each other. People of different ages and cultures have different ways of grieving as well. 

How does grief feel?

Grief is more than just sadness. You may find yourself feeling any of a range of emotions. 

You may be: 

  • Shocked or numb 

  • Angry

  • Resentful

  • Relieve

  • Depressed or lonely

  • Guilty

  • Confused and/or forgetful 

  • Overwhelmed

  • Frightened and panicky 

Most people feel grief in their bodies as well, especially in the first weeks. You may feel exhausted, cold, tense and shaky. You may find it hard to sleep or feel sick and have trouble eating. These things are normal, but if you are worried talk to your doctor. Talking to a family member or a close friend is always a great way to help with the grieving process. Bottling feelings and emotions up inside can often lead to further anxiety and pain.

How long does it take? 

Grief is more than a series of stages to go through. As time goes by, you find ways to live with your loss rather than getting over it. If the loss of a loved one is a big loss for you, you might find it hard for a long time, but it won’t always feel as bad as it does in the first weeks and months after the death. It’s normal to feel affected by your loss from time to time for the rest of your life: when you are reminded by a song or an anniversary, or when you experience another loss in your life. Most people find there are good days and bad days at first, but gradually the loss gets easier to manage. Try to be patient with yourself and others.

 

Further help & information 

The funeral and the days before it, are an important early step in coming to terms with the death of someone close. We can help you during this time and after the funeral finding you support for dealing with your loss. 

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more. ana@ana-maria.nz or 07 211 4654 

Everyone grieves differently

 

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Supporting grieving children and teens

Children and teenagers grieve for the loss too, though they often express it differently 

 

What about children? 

Spending time with someone who has died is just as important for children and teenagers as it is for adults. In many cultures children commonly play around the open casket when someone dies and feel much more comfortable about death as a result. 

Younger children are usually very accepting and curious about a person who has died. Seeing them helps them to understand death better; to realise that death is final, and that someone who has died doesn’t feel things as living people do. This makes it easier for them to cope with burial and cremation, because they understand that it won’t hurt or fright-en the person who has died. 

Children may behave differently 

Children are affected by a death in the family even if they are too young to understand or weren’t close to the person who died. They may not show their grief by talking about it but will often show it in their behaviour. They may be demanding, irritable, or clingy, withdrawn or quiet. They will often go back to younger ways of behaving for a while. This is perfectly natural. There are things you can do to make a difference; things that help them feel supported and understood, and that help them to develop the skills they need to cope with what’s happened. 

What do children need to know? 

Children and teenagers are likely to be more comfortable with being with a person who has died if the adults around them are easy with it. If it’s new for you to see someone when they have died, it’s often best that you do so first, and then bring your children in when you feel ready. 

It’s very important that they are well prepared, know what they will see, and what is expected of them. You can explain that being dead means a person’s body doesn’t work anymore, so the blood isn’t circulating and their body won’t feel warm as a living person’s body does. Give them time to get used to things, and don’t force them to do things like kissing the person if they don’t feel comfortable to do so. 

Children often like to draw a picture or write a letter to put into the casket when they spend time with someone who has died. This can help them express how much the person meant to them. 

Explaining burial and cremation 

The important thing for children to understand is that a body that has died doesn’t work and doesn’t feel things that happen to it, so the person who has died will not be hurt or frightened when they are buried or cremated. 

Encourage them to ask you questions about things that puzzle or worry them. Try to answer their questions as directly as you can. 

Talking about the loss 

Death is something many adults find it hard to talk about, especially to children, but children need us to explain what is going on. They can eas-ily get things wrong, and be frightened about things they don’t understand. Tell them what has happened and what is planned, in words that are clear, simple and truthful. 

Don’t be afraid to use words like “died” or “dead” because terms like “gone to Heaven” and “gone to sleep” are confusing and often frightening for them. Be prepared to repeat yourself often – younger children especially often need to hear the story again and again. 

Being Involved 

Encourage children to be involved in the arrangements for the funeral, and in the service itself, even if just in a small way. Children and teenagers can feel very isolated when someone dies. Being involved helps make them feel they are sharing their grief with others in the family, and that they have a contribution to make. 

When they understand what is happening, children are able to cope with a funeral and take comfort from it, just as adults do. 

What about teenagers 

A time of loss can be especially difficult for a teenager who likes to be independent and grown up, but also longs to be protected and comforted as a younger child might be. The death of someone close often means they think more deeply about the meaning of life and death. Being in-volved in planning the funeral can be very helpful. Encourage them to make their own contribution – suggesting music or reading something meaningful for them. Many teenagers have the skills to make photo slide shows. 

How else can you help? 

Children and teenagers learn how to deal with loss by watching the adults around them. Try to talk about how you are feeling and the ways you cope with loss. 

We wish to express our deep and heartfelt gratitude to you for your care and love shown towards our family over the sad period for us after Michael’s death. We really appreciate all that you did in arranging the funeral service in a caring manner and guiding us over this period. It has helped significantly having your sincerity and your friendly approach; these were absolutely invaluable to us. It was so heartening and reassuring to feel we had someone so understanding, throughout the preparation, the service and burial. We felt blessed through you! 

THE HODKINSON FAMILY