Bereavement

If you are suffering a bereavement, you may find the following helpful.

Your experience is a very personal one, but it may help you to know how others have reacted in similar situations, how you can help normal healing to occur and how to avoid some pitfalls.

Every bereavement is a time of painful loss and suffering. In the midst of this, the Christian faith says that there is meaning and love at the heart of things. The Christian faith proclaims hope and encouragement for it speaks of the resurrection of Christ and the reality of heaven. And it reminds us that God is with us, offering strength and comfort. This is the message which the Church has to offer you at this time.

Normal feelings and emotions generally experienced

Numbness

You may feel numb after the death of a loved one. The event may seem unreal, like a dream, something that has not really happened. This does not mean that you are uncaring.

Longing and Searching

You may experience a longing and searching for the person who has died.

Fear

You may feel afraid of being alone, of ‘breaking down’ or ‘losing control.’

Helplessness

Sadness

Guilt and Shame

You may experience guilt and shame for things not done.

Anger

You may feel very angry at what has happened, at whoever caused it or allowed it to happen; at the injustice and senselessnes of it all; at the shame and indignities; at the lack of proper understanding by others; at the inefficiences.

Questioning

You may question what has happened and find yourself asking ‘why me?’

The following will make your bereavement and the feelings associated with it easier to bear

Activity

To help and give to others may give some relief. However, overactivity is detrimental if it diverts attention from the help you need for yourself.

Support

It is a relief to receive other people’s support. Do not reject it. Sharing with others who have had similar experiences will help.

Privacy

In order to deal with feelings, you will find it necessary at times to be alone, or just with family and close friends.

Healing

Remember that the pain of the wound leads to healing. You may even come out wiser and stronger.

Some Dos and Don’ts

Do…… express your emotions and let your children share in the grief.

Do…… take time out to sleep, rest, think, and be with your close family and friends.

Do…… express your needs clearly and honestly to family and friends.

Do…… try to keep your lives as normal as possible.

Do…… let your children talk to you and others about their emotions, and express themselves in games and drawings.

Do…… drive more carefully.

Do…… be more careful around the home. For some people, accidents are more common after the stress of bereavement.

Don’t…… bottle up feelings.

Don’t…… avoid talking about what happened.

Don’t…… expect the memories to go away. The feelings will stay with you for a long time to come.

Don’t…… forget that your children will experience similar feelings to yourself.

When to seek help

If…… you feel that your emotions are not falling into place over a period of time.

If…… you feel chronic tension, confusion, emptiness or exhaustion.

If…… after a month or so you continue to feel numb and empty, and do not have the appropriate feelings described earlier.

If…… you have to be over-active in order not to feel.

If…… you continue to have poor sleep.

If…… you have no person or group with whom to share your emotions, and you feel the need to do so.

If…… your relationships seem to be suffering badly, or sexual problems develop.

If…… your work performance suffers.

If…… you have accidents around the home.

Do remember that you are basically the same person that you were before your bereavement. Do remember that help is available.

Where to seek help

The G7 ministers are always available if you want to talk through your experiences or share your feelings. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch (see our list of Ministers) We can also put you in touch with other bereavement organizations that may be able to help. In particular charity Cruse Bereavement Care‘s South Kent branch is based near us (in Kennington, Ashford) and can be contacted on: 0844 800 9104 or via email at: ashford@cruse.org.uk

You may find that coming to church will help you in your bereavement. Please do contact us if you would like to talk about church services, or if you have questions about the Christian faith.

For those we love but see no longer

We thank you, Father, that our loved ones who have gone from our sight are in your keeping. Help us to leave them there in perfect trust, because you love them, and us, with infinite love. Grant that we may learn to know you better, so that we may meet them again in your presence, through faith in him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For you

Do not hurry as you walk with grief; it does not help the journey. Walk slowly, pausing often: do not hurry as you walk with grief. Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words. Unfinished conversation will be resolved in him. Be not disturbed. Be gentle with the one who walks with grief. If it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often. Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief.

Trust the past to the mercy of God

Trust the present to His Love

Trust the future to His Providence