When someone dies we get hit with an avalanche, not just of emotion, but of the practicalities and formalities that surround death.
There are people to inform, finances to sort out, maybe a house, belongings, car, pets, children… wills to be finalised, probate issues, bank issues, tax issues, pension issues. A funeral or other service to arrange, flowers, cars, obituary, headstones or cremation. And in all of that is the bereaved… grieving, lost, confused, in shock, and trying to juggle every aspect of what comes with death.
So why wouldn’t you refer immediately to a specialist counselling service?
We’ve probably all heard people talk about stages of grief, but we know from our experience that people rarely follow a set pattern and their processing of grief doesn’t fall into stages. We know that people swing between having to cope with the practical stuff, and having to cope with the emotional side of grief. In the early days following a bereavement, we often feel very little other than shock, it can take a while for the reality of our grief to hit us. We just function. We get up in the morning and go through the motions. We have a list of things that we’ve still got to do. We perhaps feel numb, don’t want to eat, can’t sleep, we just exist.
It is only as time goes on that we start to really feel our grief. Sometimes we keep a lid on it because it’s simply too painful to let out, or we feel the need to protect those around us, children particularly. But it starts to leak out, and at some point it’s going to come, sometimes in a little trickle, sometimes in a constant stream, and sometimes in a huge wave.
Often people work through their grief on their own, perhaps alongside family and friends. We don’t all need grief counselling every time we are bereaved, so after a few weeks or months, we might start to feel a ‘new normal’ where we are adapting to life without the person that we lost and feel able to grieve.
Sometimes the nature of a death makes these initial stages very drawn out, if there’s a court case or issues with wills, the practicalities can drag on so long that it feels as though our grief has been shut away for ever because we can’t touch it until these other things are resolved, it’s too much to deal with all at once.
Grief has no time limit
There’s no time limit on grief, we work with people who have been bereaved for months or years down the line, people who are struggling to come to terms with their grief and find a way to move forwards, whilst still taking their loved one with them.
At the Dove Service we suggest to people who want to refer to us for specialist counselling that they give themselves some time after they are bereaved to work through this avalanche of stuff, and because so many people ask us for a specific time period, we suggest maybe 3 months, which is usually the right amount of time to work through the initial shock and the practicalities. It gives you time to start to feel your grief and decide that you might need or be ready for specialist counselling support. If you came for counselling the day after a bereavement what would you say? How could you talk to a counsellor about how you are feeling, when you haven’t worked that out for yourself?
We do recognise that everyone’s grief is different, and so when you contact the Dove Service you will have an opportunity to talk to a member of our team about your circumstances.
We don’t have a hard and fast rule that would prevent you from referring onto our waiting list. We also do have some resources and some information that we can send through to you which may be useful in these early stages, particularly if you’re supporting children or other family members, or someone with a learning difficulty.
We also run drop in therapeutic support groups and monthly friendship groups for those who would like to socialise with other people who have been bereaved.
For more information on our services, contact us by clicking here or call us on 01782 683155 (Mon-Fri office hours – please leave a message and we will return your call).