Information, Resources and Support
The West Cheshire Bereavement Service is no longer managed by the Hospice of the Good Shepherd. We are therefore only available to provide counselling services to patients and family members known to palliative care services within West Cheshire. The resources below are available to anyone as are our own bereavement help points in the community, See below for further information.
Pre Death/Newly Bereaved
Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences that will happen to you. It throws everything in your life upside down and your life will never be the same again. The first few days and weeks will pass in a blur whilst you register the death, organise the funeral, fill out endless amounts of paperwork as well as dealing with the grief and disbelief of other people too. Although you won’t feel up to it, it is so important to look after yourself properly ensuring you eat regularly and sleep. Ask your friends or family to help, make a list of things that need to be done
Three practical things that will need doing in the first few days:
Get a medical certificate from doctor/hospital
Register the death within five days – you’ll then receive the documents that you will need to arrange the funeral and for other paperwork
Arrange the funeral www.gov.uk/after-a-death/arrange-the-funeral www.gov.uk/funeral-payements
Download our Bereavement Support booklet by clicking here
What might bereavement feel like?
Grief can be an isolating and frightening experience. The griever may experience strong and varying emotions, some unlike anything they have felt before. Grief is an intensely personal process, but it can sometimes be comforting to know there are similarities in the ways people experience grief.
Knowing other people have been there before and got through it, and you are not ‘going mad’, can be very helpful. Feeling these things, and indeed asking for help, are not a sign of being weak or not coping. Grief is unavoidable, but it can become manageable over time. Grief reactions can range from strong emotions to physical reactions to behavioural actions. All are normal, even common, though it is important to get any physical aches and pains checked out with your GP.
Click on the following links to learn more.
Ways to Cope
While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life
- Acknowledge your pain.
- Accept that grief can trigger many different & unexpected emotions.
- Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
- Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
- Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
- Recognise the difference between grief and depression.
Supporting someone who is grieving
My friend has lost a loved one and I’m not sure of the right thing to say or do….
It can be a difficult and emotional time supporting someone who has been bereaved. Your instinct is to make things better and it can be frustrating when you can’t, or when your friend or family member is reacting in a way you don’t really understand. The main way to support someone who has been bereaved is simply to be there for them and to let them know you are there. Bereaved people can often feel quite isolated, especially after the funeral and once a few weeks or months have passed, when support tends to drop off. At this time, it can seem to the bereaved person that everyone else has moved on from the loss and that they are left to cope with it on their own. Having someone to talk to and offer practical and emotional support can feel invaluable.
How much a bereaved person wants to talk about their loss or the person who has died will depend on them as an individual and where they are at in their grief. Some people may want to talk about how they are feeling, while others may wish to reminisce about the deceased or swap memories of them with you. Some people may prefer to talk about anything but their loss. It is not uncommon to want to talk one day then avoid the subject the next. Take your cue from the person you are supporting.
Be sensitive to your friend or relative, but don’t be overly afraid of upsetting them. The chances are they are already upset and relish the chance to talk. It can be very painful when an acquaintance avoids the subject, or even avoids the bereaved person altogether, so just knowing you are willing to listen may be enough to help them feel less alone.
Download our Support Directory booklet by clicking here.