Life after death: coping with bereavement and grief

The death of a loved one is something we will all face in our lives, and can be absolutely crushing. It can happen at any age, but as we grow older we become more likely to go through the loss of a spouse or partner, close family members and lifetime friends.

While grief is different for everyone, many people struggle with intense, frightening emotions, which may include shock, guilt, anger and depression, and strong physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sleep problems and a need to cry. These are all ‘normal’ in this situation. The mixture of emotions and a huge life change can leave someone very isolated, socially and emotionally. It can be very important to stay as ‘connected’ as you can with someone in grief, though they may find it hard to ask for help and it may take a long time to recover.

There can be a large number of tasks to go through after someone has died, from washing clothes, doing shopping and cooking food, to arranging a funeral and dealing with a will. Some people find it helpful to do things, but for many these things can be emotionally draining, especially if done alone. Any practical help offered may be invaluable.

Practical and emotional help and support is available. See details below.

If you have been bereaved, BEA can help you get out of the house, find things to do and meet new people. The Friendship & Social Group, which meets on the first Wednesday of the month, includes many people who have been bereaved. Finding a group or activity that suits you, whatever that is, may be of enormous help.

Phone Simon if you have been bereaved and would like him to visit you, or Debbie if you would like support to get involved in BEA activities. (0113 236 1644)

Bereavement and grief: help and support

Leeds Bereavement Forum
Helps you find the appropriate bereavement service. Publishes Directory of Bereavement Services, printed and online.
0113 225 3975

Cruse Bereavement Care – Leeds
One-to-one or group support in Leeds for people bereaved, however long ago.
0113 234 4150

Bereaved Carer Project (Carers Leeds)
One-to-one and group support for carers who have been bereaved.
0113 380 4300

Cruse National Helpline
Emotional support by telephone or email.
Freephone 0808 808 1677

Bereavement Advice Centre
Free national helpline and website of information and advice on practical issues after the death of someone close.
0800 634 9494

Online directory of mental health information and support in Leeds, including a section on bereavement or loss.

There are also specialised services, including for people bereaved by suicide, bereaved parents, and other groups. Contact Leeds Bereavement Forum (above) for details.