There are many events during the year that people struggle to navigate following a bereavement; as well as other milestones like birthdays, or anniversaries. We are surrounded by reminders of occasions like these at our every turn with messages bombarding us about celebrations and coming together with the people we love.
If you don’t feel like celebrating, because the one person you would have chosen to spend these occasions with is no longer with you, these messages may overwhelm you with pressure or dread, or leave you with the feeling that there is yet another hurdle to jump over. This is something that we hear very often from our charity members, so if you feel this way it is likely you are not alone.
When we are grieving, the list of potential challenges that lie ahead of us can feel endless. Through our bereavement support group conversations, we see that it’s not just the big events that can be so challenging – sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can pull the rug from under us. One thought, one memory, or one difficult interaction with someone.
Suggestions or comments from others sometimes (unintentionally) leaves us feeling angry, guilty or ashamed at finding life difficult. It is important to really focus on what you need for yourself in the present moment and be able to put yourself first.
This can be a good time to develop self-compassion and show kindness to yourselves when you are struggling, or at times when you have felt overwhelmed by your pain and distress. Self-compassion might sound like a difficult skill to get under your belt, but sometimes it’s as simple as reminding yourself of the context and how well you are doing.
We are particularly struck by the compassion our members have for each other at our bereavement support evenets, and the support they are able to offer others in coping with their bereavement, despite any pain they are experiencing themselves. Often people come to our support events to receive help and comfort, but it is often very likely that in doing so they help someone else. So – thank you.
Whether you deliberately plan for the hurdles that lie ahead, or deliberately don’t – maybe it’s worth reminding yourself of how far you have come and how well you are doing (even if it doesn’t feel like it!)
However you are feeling, you are welcome to join us for support at any of our events. You can find all information on our upcoming events on our calendar.
Dr Francine Bear