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IntroductionGrief Support

Do not be afraid to show your emotions or to ask for practical help or emotional support. Do not go through this alone.

For some people, relying on family and friends is the best way to cope.

But if you do not feel that you can broach the subject freely with them (perhaps you are not close, or they are grieving as well), there is also support available that HCA can provide for you and your family.

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At HCA, we have social workers and counsellors who can give you time and space to talk about your feelings, thoughts, your relationships, family, work, fears and the future.

Do not be afraid to talk about the person who has died. People in your life might not mention their name because they do not want to upset you. But if you feel you cannot talk to them, it can make you feel isolated.

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It is important to allow people enough time to grieve. Some can seem to get over the loss quickly, but others take longer. So do not expect too much too soon from a bereaved relative or friend – they need the time to grieve properly and this will help to avoid problems in the future.

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How can friends and relatives support the bereaved?

You can help by spending time with the person who is bereaved. More than words, they need comfort and to know that you will be with them during this time of pain and distress. A sympathetic arm around the shoulders will express care and support when words are not enough.

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It is important that, if they want to, bereaved people can cry with somebody and talk about their feelings of pain and distress without being told to pull themselves together. In time, they will come to terms with it, but first they need to talk and to cry.

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Others may find it hard to understand why the bereaved person has to keep talking about the same things again and again, but this is part of the process of resolving grief and should be encouraged. If you don’t know what to say, or don’t even know whether to talk about it or not, be honest and say so.

This gives the bereaved person a chance to tell you what he or she wants. People often avoid mentioning the name of the person who has died for fear that it will be upsetting. However, to the bereaved person it may seem as though others have forgotten their loss, adding a sense of isolation to their painful feelings of grief.

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Remember that festive occasions and anniversaries (not only of the death, but also birthdays and weddings) are particularly painful times. Friends and relatives can make a special effort to be around.

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Practical help with cleaning, shopping or looking after children can ease the burden of being alone. Elderly bereaved partners may need help with the chores that the deceased partner used to handle – coping with bills, cooking, housework, getting the car serviced and so on.

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