Understanding bereavement

 

Few people will go through life without experiencing the loss of someone important to them. Death is a part of life, it is inevitable and sooner or later we all have to face up to the reality of it.

Through grieving we learn how to continue to function in spite of our losses. How well we manage this seems to affect our quality of life and how we subsequently relate emotionally to others throughout our lives.

Death today is often still a taboo subject. With improved medical knowledge our expectations are that we, and those close to us, will live well into old age. How painful it is then when a child dies or for children to experience the death of a parent. The family is changed forever.

In a desire not to intrude and also as protection for themselves, relatives and friends may think it is best to say nothing and sidestep the issue. Many bereaved people are ignored by others and quickly learn that to hide their feelings is more acceptable in society and, generally, people then feel more comfortable in their presence. However, it is acknowledging the loss and finding ways of accepting the reality that helps the bereaved to express their painful feelings and allows them to grieve for the person who has died.