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  • Writer's pictureSonja

Navigating Bereavement and Grief: Love Beyond Death

Updated: May 8

Introduction

A man lying on his side, holding a pillow tightly, and visibly grieving as tears flow, expressing the profound sorrow after the loss of a loved one.

Grief and bereavement are universal emotions, inherent parts of the human experience.


They are expressions of love with no place to go, testaments to the deep connections we form with others throughout our lives. When we experience the loss of someone we love, it


can feel as if our world has been shattered. In these moments of heartache, the opinions of others regarding our grief become irrelevant; what truly matters is finding a way to honor the love that persists even after death.


Understanding Bereavement

The term "bereaved" originates from an old Latin word meaning "to be robbed," and it aptly captures the essence of loss as it can feel like a significant theft from our lives. Grief can be particularly complex when death occurs through stigmatised circumstances like suicide or drug overdose. Society's taboos may lead to feelings of shame for the grieving individual, perpetuated by the need for secrecy surrounding the cause of death. However, understanding the 3 C's – that we could not control, cause, or cure the circumstances leading to their death, can help alleviate some of the burdensome shame. How a loved one dies is not their identity, and it's essential to refrain from blaming ourselves or feeling ashamed.

A grieving woman paying her respects at a grave, shedding tears, and tenderly laying a rose as a symbol of love and remembrance.

Love Transcends Mortality

The concept of love after death might be difficult for some to grasp, but it manifests in numerous ways. Love does not end with a person's passing; it transforms, finding new forms of expression. People often engage in symbolic acts to keep that connection alive, such as listening to their loved one's favourite songs, saying their name, lighting a candle, or even wearing their clothes. These actions may seem small, but they carry profound emotional significance. Love extends beyond the physical realm and persists in our hearts.


Continuing Bonds

In the face of loss, the idea of continuing bonds can provide solace. The relationships we form do not abruptly terminate with death. Instead, they evolve and continue in other forms. Anticipatory grief, especially around anniversaries of a loved one's death, can be overwhelming. Planning ahead for these days can be helpful, but it's equally essential to allow ourselves to experience the emotions that arise naturally. Whether it's spending the day crying, staying in bed, or finding comfort in food, it's essential to let the day be what it needs to be, without judgment.


Finding Healing and Support

Healing from grief and trauma can be a challenging journey, one that is often difficult to undertake alone. Studies have shown that healing in isolation is arduous. The need for connection and support is paramount during these times. There are various grief support groups and programs available, such as the Winston’s Wish and The Compassionate Friends. Connecting with others who have experienced similar loss can create a space for healing and understanding.


Embracing the Whys

The "whys" are a natural response to loss. Why did this happen? Why me? Why them? Seeking answers can sometimes be therapeutic, but it's important to recognize that not all questions may be fully answered. It's okay to ask why and to explore ways to find some closure, but ultimately, the focus shifts towards embracing how we can live a life that honours the memory of our loved ones.


Respecting Individual Perspectives

Throughout the grieving process, individuals will use various words and phrases to describe their experience. It is essential to respect their language and not correct it. For instance, often people may say that a child "took their life," but understanding that it was the illness of their mind that led to their passing can help combat stigma and judgment.


Allowing Room for Anger and Spirituality

Grief can evoke complex emotions, including anger. It's essential to acknowledge and accept these feelings, even towards spiritual entities like God. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to be angry at God. Faith does not require one to be free of emotions; rather, it welcomes all feelings, including anger. God can withstand our emotions and our grief.


Conclusion

Grief is an intricate process that varies from person to person. It is a testament to the love we have shared and the impact a person has had on our lives. Understanding that love continues after death and finding ways to keep that love alive can provide comfort during times of loss. While healing may be difficult, seeking support from others who have experienced similar journeys can be transformative. By embracing the memories, honouring the love, and allowing ourselves to grieve in our way, we can gradually find a path towards healing and living a life that cherishes the ones we have lost.


Disclaimer: Please note that this blog provides general information about grief and coping mechanisms and is not a substitute for professional counselling or therapy. If you are struggling with grief or trauma, consider seeking support from professionals who offer bereavement counselling services.

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