Bereavement is when grief and mourning occur in the period following a loss. Some cultures follow fixed time windows to bereavement. For example, in Jewish culture, families sit shiva for seven days following a death, and for Buddhists, a funeral may be held for seven days for friends and families to pay their respects. The experience of bereavement is different for each person and loss. Personal bereavement does not have a fixed time window and many people return to periods of bereavement on key dates, such as the birthday of the deceased or the anniversary of their death.
Signs of Bereavement
Different people experience grief in different ways. The grief of a daughter who has lost her father would be different than that of a wife who has lost her husband. Grief can also come in many forms–emotional, mental, physical or social—as the pathways of grief are many. You may find yourself breaking down into tears at unexpected hours of the day, or you may have suppressed the need to cry. Anger may be a byproduct of your grief, or you may find that you’re more solicitous than usual, assisting others around you in managing their grief despite being in mourning yourself. Don’t compare your reactions to the reactions of others as everyone has their way of coping. Keep in mind that grief and bereavement are different for everyone and no one’s experience of grief is the same.
Managing The Period of Bereavement
Firstly, acknowledge that you are experiencing grief. The funeral itself is an opportunity to recognize that the physical time of the departed has come to an end on earth. You may need to adjust your expectations for yourself, as well as help others adjust their expectations of you for a period. Hold space for your period of mourning by taking some time for yourself. If you work, ask whether your company has a bereavement policy, as you may be able to take paid or unpaid leave. If you’re unable to take time off, you should still let your boss and those you work with regularly know that you recently lost someone. Tell them you’re going to do your best to stay on top of everything, but you may need extra support for a period.
In addition, you can also look at what you can cut back in your personal life for the time being. Consider taking a break from regular activities or socializing commitments for some time, as it is likely that what you feel internally would be a mismatch with your external environment. If someone offers to help, be as clear and forthright as possible with what they can do to make your life easier. This could mean going to the grocery store, ferrying children to their appointments, bringing over food, or just being there to talk.
We Are Here for the Difficult Moments
At American Heritage Cemetery & Funeral Home, we understand grief. We provide respectful service in ensuring that the process of putting your loved ones to rest runs smoothly, so that you can concentrate on the healing process. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our professional services.