Dealing With Bereavement and Funerals

Coping After the Loss of a Loved One

As someone who lost their parents at only 21, within two months each other; someone who has been involved and taken funerals, plus spent part of their life as a Cemeteries Manager, I have experienced bereavement and seen how it affects others.

Bereavement affects people in many different ways. Feelings of shock and numbness and a variety of emotions come to the surface. The loss of a close loved one is one of the most difficult and stressful events we face in life and space needs to be made to cope with this.

When dealing with bereavement, emotions are like the ocean. Stillness and calmness can be followed by strong waves of emotion that are overwhelming with some coming one after another and others in a wave that can be likened to a real wave knocking you off your feet. For anyone who has experienced the loss of a partner, spouse or close relative you will understand this.

These feelings and emotions are not abnormal during a time of bereavement. You may not feel in control at times. The grief can be overwhelming, adjusting to life initially can be difficult. Over time, emotions do become less intense. I often say in some circumstances to expect emotions to take a period of a couple of years to lessen. Seek to retain good lasting memories and take time out when they come. Dealing with bereavement is a traumatic experience for anyone.

dealing with bereavement supporting others

Dealing with bereavement – how to help a bereaved relative/close friend

  • Be there for the person(s) most affected – remember it’s more actions than words at a time like this. An arm round a shoulder, a hug.
  • If someone is on their own – make a cake, cook a meal, offer to do some cleaning, take them out for a quiet drive, buy a bunch of flowers, look through a photo album. Just listening at a time like this is also so helpful and valuable. Do not be the person who has an opinion at a time like this.
  • Do not expect a bereaved person to do too much too soon. Give them time and space.
  • If you are their employer, let them go through the motions at work when they return.

I remember losing my father-in-law and my last relative on my side of the family, my mum’s sister, in July 2009 within two weeks of each other. My work was dealing with the bereaved at the time. I struggled for a while due to my work situation. In hindsight, I should have booked some holiday!

The UK Funeral Industry and Funeral Celebrants

In the UK, the Industry has been changing for a number of years in regards to services that are personalised with more choice for relatives. There has been a growth in UK Funeral Celebrants who are trained and able to put together a semi-religous or non-religous funeral service which makes for a personalised and memorable ceremony. They have no agenda other than to construct and deliver a funeral service of your choice. A visit/contact is always made to enable this to take place. Families will get a funeral service they have chosen and a fitting tribute to a loved one.

A Funeral Celebrant can even help a family or relative construct a suitable service with anyone who wants to plan ahead. The subject of death is not so taboo as it once was and having a Church Minister is not what everyone wants in today’s society.

To find a Funeral Celebrant, visit the County Celebrants Network. Just tell your Funeral Director. It’s your choice.

I can recommend Victoria Fisher in my own county of Hampshire.

Companies like Colourful Coffins and Motorcycle Funerals (“one last ride”) give a another option. Woodland burial sites have increased for those who choose a “natural ending” as have the use of wicker and natural coffins. Most crematoriums now give more time than just 20 minutes.

One of the most useful places in the UK to get information about dealing with bereavement when someone dies is the Bereavement Advice Centre . They provide a UK wide telephone helpline along with bereavement advice and information on what to do when someone dies.

Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart if you are reading this and have recently been bereaved.

– Peter J Armstrong.

Bespoke Funeral Ceremonies operates mainly in Hampshire, UK but will travel further afield by request.

  • Distance difficulties in the planning can be overcome by Skype and email.
  • To get in touch, use the B.F.C. online contact form or ring +44 (0)2381 781 395. 

© 2017