Maybe it was expected, but that doesn’t lessen the sense of loss.
Maybe it was sudden, in which case all sorts of questions and feelings will arise which will be very hard to cope with.
Everyone will experience the passing of someone close very differently, and will encounter a whole range of feelings. In the initial stages you may feel shock, numbness, and a sense that you can’t quite come to terms with what has just happened.
Then there’s guilt – could you have done more for the terminally-ill person you have been nursing or visiting? Was there something you might have done which may even have prevented someone’s death?
And what about anger? How could this person have left you to fend for yourself? Why did they leave you when they did, and not in old age when they should have done?
Yet in amongst all these mixed and very raw feelings you have to get a death certificate, then register the death within 5 days, inform all sorts of people like the tax office and insurance companies, sort out the estate and organise a funeral!
Let’s not think we are just talking about the loss of someone close. The same feelings often arise with other types of loss, for example losing a job or a pet. if you have been injured or are suffering with ill health, it’s common to grieve the loss of what was normality. If you have to move house, especially if it is because of someone else, there will be all sorts of feelings to do with the loss of life as you knew it, as well as the uncertainty of what is to come.
People might avoid you because they don’t know what to say to you or do for you, yet it is often these people you will need for emotional and practical support. We’re not that good in this country at talking about our feelings generally, and we’re certainly not good at talking about death, even though it’s life’s great certainty.
There are supposedly stages of grief, but what you feel now is what you feel now. It’s important to give your feelings the time they deserve. By doing so you will give yourself the opportunity of arriving at a new normality.