When a death occurs the household may become very active, there may be visits from family, friends neighbours and those involved in a more official capacity.There may be paperwork to attend to and many other things that require attention at a time when the minds of those closest are in shock.
If you have been suddenly bereaved
The shocked state can feel like a dream like unreality. Cut off, within the bubble of grief and functioning in an automated way. You may need to talk repetitively about your experience, this is quite normal and is part of the minds need to make sense of , comprehend, accept all that has happened.
It can be useful to have help with every day tasks although it is often more useful to have someone there to listen. You may feel very controlled, it is not unusual to feel calm or to want to organise and to feel that you need to support others who seem more tearful or less able to manage.You may feel in one moment in control and in the next absolute devastation and overwhelmed. You may feel that others are trying so hard to help you feel better that you must go along with it- this can cause you to feel more isolated.
It is very important to acknowledge your feelings and to talk about them openly.It is tempting of those who care to try to protect you from the reality, to offer hugs and hush the anguished words to stem the flow of tears. This can cause a deeper sense of isolation.
Don’t become the pleaser, deceiving or hiding real thoughts and feelings,so that to the outside world you appear to be ‘ doing well’
Oh how often I hear that phrase . The doing well blanket ……..the ‘ Ever so good considering ‘ blanket . The blanket used to wrap around the bereft so very tightly that it stops the real feelings from emerging. The things that feel crazy …the thoughts that may be frightening. Kept to oneself and only allowed out in the lonely hours. All of this held in emotion builds inside and can be the root of much anxiety .The fear of letting go and never being able to recover oneself or of suddenly losing control.
Anxiety often presents as a fear of going out of meeting people of having to talk to them or of being avoided by those who just don’t know what to say.
It can be of great benefit to plan going out.to plan escapes from situations that may cause more anxiety and to think through how you will manage if you are approached by someone who may ask how you are. I call this safety netting. If you have someone to talk through your fears with this can be very helpful,if not writing down and making lists of ideas can be equally helpful.
It is also important that you give yourself time,time to think things through, don’t be rushed into decisions and don’t allow others to pressurise you into continuing a task that is causing you further anxieties.Pre planning can provide a sense of reassurance and control. Your world has changed , you have changed.Death brings with it uncertainty and insecurity .
I mentioned earlier the sense of unreality shock . This can often prevent the taking in of information. It can be useful to keep lists and a pen and paper by your telephone ……..make a note of who called, what they wanted and of their number.
Ask official visitors to write their numbers or leave a card so that you can contact them and don’t be afraid to ask questions or to say when you have had enough. If you have any meetings to attend in connection with the death write any questions down beforehand and take time to make any decisions.
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