B is for...bereavement
What can be said that’s of any use about the big topic of bereavement in a short blog post? I will try. “Be kind to yourself” is a phrase that’s often heard from counsellors and I think it’s particularly relevant to bereavement. An interesting question to ask is why would someone not be kind to themselves after suffering a loss? Here are some possible reasons :-
They are generally hard on themselves and this is no different after a significant loss. Some people just don’t feel comfortable being easy on themselves, they have a quite harsh ‘inner critic’ and when faced with loss, this part of them is saying ‘don’t’ be weak, you need to just get over this’ or ‘you’re not the only person to go through this you know’ and other not very helpful things.
They feel the pressure of society to grieve in a particular way and to a particular timetable. They express the idea that after say, a year, people ‘expect them to be getting over it’ and even feel embarrassment or shame that they are still hurting. For what it’s worth, there is no timetable to grief and come to think of it, I’ve never met anyone who says that there is.
Their relationship with the deceased was complicated. For example, they may just feel angry with this person, yet not have anyone that they can express this to and what’s more, feel guilty for feeling this way.
Whatever the reason for not being kind to yourself following a loss, the effect is to compound things – you feel bad and you feel bad for feeling bad! So whether it’s allowing yourself to cry and feel really sorry for yourself, or allowing yourself to enjoy that nice thing you used to enjoy, or being frank with someone about your true feelings; being kind to yourself in loss can be a good place to start.