Many people who are grieving question if what they’re feeling is ‘normal’.

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve and everyone is different.

In the hours, days, weeks, months and years following a bereavement people can react in many different ways. It’s quite common and normal to experience some of these different responses (and even number of them in one day):

  • overwhelming sadness – cry a lot and feel deep emotional pain and distress
  • shock – feel ‘dazed’ and have trouble taking in what’s happened
  • numbness or lack of emotion – not cry initially and appear calm – some people feel the impact internally, or, may have strong emotions later on 
  • keep busy – put off your feelings by concentrating on the immediate tasks that need doing
  • denial and disbelief – keep thinking that your loved one is still here and feel their presence some days after their death
  • anger – whether that’s with the person who has died for leaving, someone involved in their care, yourself for ‘not doing enough’ or another family member
  • guilt – about things you did or didn’t do, or, that you didn’t manage to ‘save’ your loved one and will have to go on without them
  • less resilience – need help with practical tasks and find it harder to cope with everyday pressures 
  • relief – that your loved one isn’t suffering anymore or that a difficult time in your life has ended
  • anxiety and fearfeel anxious, worry more and experience physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and shallow breathing – some people also have panic attacks
  • low moods – feel empty, lost, lonely and lack a sense of ‘purpose’ sometimes
  • difficulty eating and sleeping – feel tired, lack energy and pick up more colds and infections than usual
  • memory problems and difficulty concentrating – you may find you have done something odd like put your keys in the fridge – it’s normal for your thoughts to be somewhere else at this time

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