Our support events at The Loss Foundation are there to support people bereaved by cancer, whether it be a recent loss or a loss from many years ago. All are welcome for support at any point in their bereavement. We know how difficult it can be to seek support when you are recently bereaved, and wanted to share some helpful insights with you.
Bereavement is an individual experience and there is no ‘right’ way to feel or experience it. Having said that, it is not uncommon for us to hear some common worries from people who are recently bereaved, namely the worry about what they ‘should’ be feeling and the fear of breaking down at some point. These are common fears and very much related to the fear of the unknown. Nobody really prepares us for bereavement, so it is very hard to know what life will look like and that makes it very hard to plan ahead.
Another common fear for people who are recently bereaved is the thought of memories fading away and being forgotten. This fear can sometimes lead people to hold on to certain items, such as keeping voice messages, trinkets, and perfumes of their loved ones. Objects and smells can act as very emotive reminders for us, and if holding them close brings comfort – collect away! Some objects or photos can be more emotive than we anticipate and bring on a flood of emotions that can frighten us. Loss is unpredictable and we won’t know the things that will act as triggers for us until they pop up.
So how should we cope when feeling overwhelmed? There is no one way to cope with grief and different things work for different individuals. Some people seek individual bereavement counselling, which we definitely encourage trying if you are keen for some individualised support. Others mention finding comfort in mindfulness and meditation, which help them stay present in the moment instead of worrying about what lies ahead tomorrow. For those who haven’t tried any meditation or mindfulness exercises it may be worth giving them a go to see if they bring any calm for you (and we’d encourage you to try it a few times as it takes practice to get benefit from it). You can access these on our Get Support page.
When manoeuvring ourselves through grief it is often a case of learning along the way; learning what brings us comfort and what triggers painful memories. All we can do is take it one day at a time and look after ourselves as best as we can.
Thank you to all who come along to our bereavement support events and share with us. By doing so you are supporting not just yourself, but others too. Like we said, we know how hard it is to seek help, but recognising you need some extra support is a strength not a weakness.
If anybody reading this is thinking of coming along for support but is worried about it – you are welcome to bring someone with you if that makes it easier. And rest assured our team will do their best to make you feel welcome and comfortable.