The UK struggles with big questions about death and dying. And yet, starting conversations about dying is often not as complicated as you might think. Every year, the country uses Dying Matters Awareness Week as a moment to encourage us to get talking about it. This year, Dying Matters continues its work on being #InAGoodPlace.
There are a number of circumstances that give rise to talking about dying and your wishes in relation to the end of your life. Bereavement is one of them.
It can be challenging to know what to say when someone we know has lost someone close to them. We often want to offer to support them. Many people rely on friends or relatives for that support. When we’re grieving, we often want to talk about it, but people around us seem afraid to approach the subject for fear of upsetting us.
Bereavement Is An Opportunity To Talk About Dying
The period after a funeral can be difficult, as it may feel like everyone’s lives have gone back to normal, whereas you are wondering how you will move on.
Often the initial feelings are very intense and can involve a longing to be reunited with the person you miss. As well as significant emotional pain, you might have physical reactions, like heart palpitations and tiredness. It can seem like things are not “real”, and it might be challenging to think about anything apart from the person who has died. It is not unusual to have trouble focusing or becoming forgetful. It is important to talk about how you are feeling with someone you can trust; to discuss your fears about your own mortality too.
In time, you will begin to accept what has happened. You might feel like you can get back to participating in activities again. While you haven’t forgotten your loved one, their death has become a more “accepted” part of your memory. Thinking about them isn’t as distracting as it was. However, the length of time it takes to process these emotions is unique to everyone – it can take weeks, months, or even years. There may be periods when intense grief re-emerges. This is common and can happen around significant events like birthdays and anniversaries. Again these occasions will be very good opportunities to talk.
Remember, there is bereavement support available that you can access at any point if you want to talk to a professional about your feelings.
Leading a Happy, Full and productive life
Death happens to everyone, and it’s a normal part of nature’s order; being aware of it but not dwelling on it is crucial to living a happy, full and productive life. Talking about death and dying is a good and positive subject, as well as sometimes being a fascinating one.
- Text from The Dying Matters Website