For newly bereaved

Welcome to our page for those of you who are newly bereaved. We are so sorry that you are here, but we hope you will find help now, and feel as though we can offer a little hope for the future, with the love and support from others who have been through a similar loss.

We know that your grief will be different to ours, but we do understand, as we have all lost someone we love at The Good Grief Trust. We have been at the early stages as you are now, which can be so incredibly difficult, so we want you to know that you are not alone and that we are here to offer you our friendship and support. Please scroll down for stories from others who are bereaved and articles explaining how people dealt with their own grief early on and we hope the advice from the professionals to you is also helpful.

Take your time, this is your grief and there is no right or wrong way to be. Whatever you feel now is right for you. We are here for you, so please know that you are not alone.

Click here for our UK map to find your local support service. Please visit these pages, they have important information that you may want to read now.

What to do when someone dies - Funerals - Things to Consider

Fiona Murphy MBE

Fiona has been a nurse for 30 years and specialises in bereavement care

Julia Samuel MBE

Julia is a psychotherapist working with the bereaved for 28 years

Pernille

Pernille talks about her feelings early on after losing her boyfriend to cancer

Honor

Honor who lost her dad when she was 15yrs old discusses the need to talk about the person who has died

Rupert

Rupert talks about how difficult it is for some men to talk about their grief

Camilla

Camilla, a young mum who lost her toddler Rex, talks about how finding others who have been through a similar loss helped her

Holly

Holly lost her husband and then shortly after her partner died. She discusses how joining a support group like Widowed and Young really helped her find new friendships

Amy

Amy discusses whether talking about losing her best friend at the time, would have helped her grief

Things I wish I had known - our advice to you, from those who have been through it

 

I wish I had known.............

  • That the only recording I may have of my partner is on a voicemail, on my phone or my answer machine which may automatically get deleted. (Please save them now if you are concerned, this can be devastating for some people).
  • That I could get help for my children from a child psychologist. (Visit www.bacp.co.uk for information on finding a qualified counsellor).
  • That Widowed and Young existed – www.widowedandyoung.org.uk a charity for those under 50 who have lost a partner.
  • That someone had told me that I didn't have to rush the funeral and that I could have had a memorial service, several months later, instead of planning an event just after my husband died.
  • That I should have said yes to any practical help offered. Grief can be exhausting and I would have appreciated jobs being done around the house, that my children were looked after for a while and that paperwork was dealt with for me.

I wish I had known................

  • That I could do what I wanted when I was ready to do it. I didn't need to explain or justify why.
  • That after I lost my mother to cancer I could have had a few treats like a massage or reflexology session at the local Maggies Centre, but no-one told me, I could really have done with someone being nice to me (www.maggiescentres.org).
  • That in those early days I wish I'd spent more time looking after me - magnesium salt baths, scented candles, reiki sessions and long walks listening to soothing music or audio books.
  • That I wish I'd written more thoughts down so I could remember the journey I've been on and how our tragedy is leading to positive achievements.
  • That it was okay to say I feel crap, when people asked how I was rather than oh you know I'm okay. When I did start telling people how I really felt, I got a lot of support, but by saying I was okay it gave them an excuse not to dig deeper so I felt swamped by my grief.

I wish I had known.............

  • That friends can often be the greatest source of strength and understanding - they are invaluable.
  • That I could say ‘yes’ to any offers of help – you can always change your mind later.
  • That people will want to express sympathy – I had to learn to say ‘thank you’ and not waffle a load of inanities I couldn’t believe I could hear myself saying.
  • That early on is the time to put yourself first - always do what feels best for you.
  • That you will be given lots of advice from friends and family.  Whatever their thoughts - go with your gut instinct.
  • That it can be hard talking to those who have not experienced what you have. Seek out people who have been through a similar loss. 
  • That you don't have to listen to the uneducated. Everyone thinks they know about loss and they want to tell you.  You do not have to listen, just tell them you are not ready.
  • That you will receive many offers of help and, initially you may want to decline a lot of them - try not to. Let people help you because the sad reality is that will fall away - if you constantly say no, people will stop asking.
  • That I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help - it's not a sign of weakness.

I wish I had known.............

  • That it's okay to do whatever I need or want to do!!
  • That all the horrific emotions I was feeling were very normal and part of the grieving process.
  • That there is no "normal" way to grieve and that we can experience grief in different ways.
  • That I had known that I would go over everything that happened from diagnosis to death over and over and over in my head every time I am alone.
  • That it is ok to stop people if you don't want to hear what they're saying.
  • That I could let friends and family know what help and support I needed, rather than what they think I need. 

I wish I had known the physical affects of grief...............

If you do have any concerns regarding new physical symptoms, please make sure you visit your GP. Visit these sites for articles that may be helpful.

Marie Curie

Our bodies react to our feelings and it’s common for grief to produce physical symptoms. Even simple, everyday things like getting up in the morning, going to school, college or work, or talking to friends may be a huge effort.

BBC News

Murdered soldier Lee Rigby's mother says she has felt daily chest pains since her son's death. Why does bereavement affect some people this way?

Macmillan 

On line community - the physical symptoms of grieving

What's Your Grief

Of all the unimaginable aspects of grief, there is one thing we hear people say time and time again, that they didn't really expect: physical grief symptoms. They might not have been fully able to appreciate the emotional roller coaster of grief, until they were on it, but they at least had a sense it was part of the process. The physical stuff is something many people tell us they simply didn't know to expect until it hit them like a ton of bricks.

 

A few comments from our Facebook page - physical symptoms that others have experienced

"Like everything else about grief, nobody warns you or talks about the physical symptoms. After my mum's horrific death, I didn't sleep for months, had horrible nightmares when I did, had heart palpitations, and the stress had me breaking out in hives, then shingles (which I'd never had before). All of this on top of excruciating mental pain. Without my husband's support, I am 100% sure I wouldn't have made it out alive. Thank you for addressing this topic!"

"Oh yes. So many side effects to crippling grief. When I lost my partner I barely slept for a year, I became nocturnal going to bed at 4am and sleeping until 1pm, and then I'd have to go back to bed by 4pm for a nap I was so exhausted. Everything ached, my head and shoulders were constantly in pain from crying and stress. My skin and hair went to pot and hair still falls out now. It's the worst experience that will ever happen to me so I'm not surprised the side effects were so extreme"

"Heart palpitations, fatigue, sleep problems, high blood pressure all after our son was killed suddenly in a workplace incident at 33"

"Brain fog, eczema, insomnia, weight gain, depression and I feel empty".

"Anxiety / panic attacks, exhaustion, weight loss, loss of appetite, widows brain, heightened PMS symptoms"

"I developed chronic pain syndrome after crippling grief. This has been with me for the past 18 years"

"And my tongue developed something called geographic tongue. It annihilates taste and it looks awful".

If you do have any concerns regarding new physical symptoms, please make sure you visit your GP.

Lee Pycroft talks about what we can do when you feel grief is overwhelming you

 We hope these quotes will help you to know that things will get better

It will just take time - one hour, one day, one step at a time.....

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