Bereavement is an umbrella term that includes overall adaptation to death. It is the process associated with loss and grief, the state of having suffered a loss through death and responding to the loss, learning to live with the loss and dealing with the pain of death. This process does not have a time limit. It is influenced by different factors ranging from the relationship of the bereaved person to the deceased, the cause of the death, the age of the deceased, past experiences of the bereaved in handling crises and support systems.

“Whenever I think of all the time I will not spend with him, my soul gets weak…. How do you expect me to move on with my life as if nothing has happened, when my whole world has been violently rocked off its axis? How dare you tell me not to cry, how dare you tell me to be strong, how dare you patronise my emotions and make me seem like I am a weak person for not knowing what to do next!” 

This is the response of a bereaved sibling, almost 2 years after the brother was tragically killed in a car accident.

These are some of the roller coaster emotions most bereaved persons may experience. At times one seems to have come to terms with the death of the significant other and it is easy to talk about it and still be OK. The next minute, the very same person is so overcome by grief that it is too painful to listen to mention anything about the deceased. This is all NORMAL behaviour. 

Concern about complicated grieving should be when the intensity of the grief seems not to get any better over time and actually incapacitates the bereaved person from performing daily routines or affects general behaviour.

In conclusion, the sibling quoted above had this to say: “As far as I am concerned, today and everyday after this should be a national day of mourning! I will never apologise for the tears I have shed and will continue to shed. I understand that acceptance of loss is something that we need to accept. Simultaneously, grieving a loss is something that must be embraced and given the time to take its course, towards a comfortable acceptance of the circumstances that God, in his infinite wisdom has placed on your plate.”

For more information, contact your nearest Hospice.