Whether sudden or expected, few life events have a greater impact on families than the death of a loved one. Every family makes sense of and copes with grief in their own way. Grief is normal, it is not an illness or something to simply ‘get over’ and many people require bereavement support throughout their life at different stages and for different reasons.
Commonly, we associate bereavement with the loss of a family member, this may be a grandparents, parents or siblings. Everybody has their own way of coping, a young adult may react very differently to loss than widow after years of marriage, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with bereavement. The emotions felt during this period can range greatly from anger, guilt and frustration to sadness and anxiety.
When you lose somebody close to you, it is important to understand that you are not trying to ‘recover’, as this would suggest that you would be the same as before the loss. In fact, experiences shape you as a person and bereavement is about accepting what happened and learning to adjust your life without that person while keeping their memory alive. Throughout this time, it is very important that we find a way to express our feelings and allow mourning to happen, which is where bereavement support might help.
It is not unusual to experience big swings in emotions, some days you may be feeling fine and then seemingly out of nowhere you are hit by grief.
This may cause you to:
- Feel like you’re not able to cope with work
- Not taking good care of yourself such as not eating properly or washing
- Taking out your negative feelings on others
- Not feeling able to get out of bed to face life
These are all quite normal and natural feelings when someone is going through bereavement and the process of experiencing the pain associated is part of the healing process.
Bereavement Support Services
Below we have detailed some organisations and resources in Norfolk which will help anyone visiting this end of life section and who feels they would benefit from bereavement support.
Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital
The Bereavement Office at the hospital offers advice, practical help and support for bereaved relatives in the period following the death of a loved one. They have a team of bereavement advisers to support relatives and carers of those who have died in their care. They can help you make arrangements to:
- collect the medical certificate of cause of death
- explain the procedures for the registration the death
- explain the procedure for returning the deceased’s property
It is important to make an appointment to see an adviser, as he/she will arrange to have everything ready for you, thus avoiding any unnecessary wait. Telephone: 01603 287165 or 01603 287166
The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, Kings Lynn
The Norfolk Hospice offer a monthly coffee morning, the Friday Friendship Group, the Footsteps Walking Group and the Roots and Seeds gardening group. They also have one-to-one meetings with a trained and supervised bereavement support volunteers and can offer appointments with the UK Council for Psychotherapy accredited bereavement counsellors.
Most hospices will offer a bereavement service, however if yours does not, The Norfolk Hospice will accept referrals, where the bereaved live in the area. Tel: 01485 601700
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse Bereavement Care Norwich is part of a national charity offering information, advice and bereavement counselling to anyone who has been affected by a death. Trained volunteers give one to one support and they also have a Monday morning support group aimed at older people who have been bereaved in the past. Tel: 01603 firstname.lastname@example.org or click HERE for their website.
The Big C
The Big C support group is for people bereaved through cancer. The group is facilitated by a counsellor and is usually at least three months after the bereavement, when the immediate shock and impact of loss has been experienced. Call 01603 286112 or pop into the Norwich Big C Centre to book a place or email email@example.com or visit The Big C website.
Dereham Cancer Care
Provides professional counselling including bereavement counselling, emotional support, practical help and befriending to anyone with cancer, their relatives and carers. Call 01362 851439 or visit the Dereham Cancer Care website.
NHS Psychological Service In Specialist Palliative Care
The psychological service in Specialist Palliative Care offers holistic psychological support to patients who are living with life limiting illness and during end of life care and into bereavement, as well as their relatives.
Counselling and other forms of psychological support can be done face to face, over the telephone or via home visits where necessary.
It’s Good to Talk
To find a local counsellor or organisation that provides bereavement counselling, click HERE.
Books & Guides
If you’re not ready to talk to anyone or attend a group, below are a couple of resources which might help you at home;
- Cruse Bereavement Care recommend some good books which can help with the grieving process.
- The NHS Health Scotland have produced a useful downloadable guide called TalkingAboutBereavement
We hope this page has been helpful. If you would like to talk to people going through a similar experience, our forum is a wonderful place to receive support and advice.