Bereavement and grief can be difficult to process. There is no one way to grieve well, so how can you cope with complicated feelings and support others dealing with grief?
What does ‘healthy’ grief look like?
There is no single or right way to grieve. Everyone processes loss in their own way, and at their own pace. Grief can be expressed in many different ways, often with very powerful, frightening and confusing feelings. As well as a deep sadness, you may feel anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, despair with the loved one that has died, denial, restless over-activity or apathy. Accept that it isn’t unusual not to feel your ‘normal’ self. Be gentle with yourself for grief is an exhausting thing, and remember that the most intense feelings will pass in time.
How could you help yourself, or a grieving friend or family member?
Talk to others, or be prepared to listen to someone who is coping with bereavement. We can sometimes shy away from painful subjects, but in fact talking about the people we’ve lost and our thoughts and feelings about it can be very healing and help us process a traumatic experience. Remembering happy times with the person who has died can be difficult but also help to get through it and find gratitude for moments shared. Looking at photographs, making a memory book and keeping meaningful mementoes may help.
How to be #GriefKind
It can be tricky to know what to do and say to support a friend who is grieving. The bereavement charity Sue Ryder have many resources to navigate supporting people through grief, including their five ways to be more #GriefKind:
- Show that you care
- Get comfortable with stillness
- Accept that you can’t fix things
- Keep checking in
- Help your friend grow around grief
You can also order a set of free #GriefKind cards (pictured) that can help you navigate how to support your friend in an empathetic way.
If you, or another student at Kent is trying to cope with bereavement, it may be helpful (when ready) to work through the Togetherall Coping With Grief and Loss online course, or seek one to one counselling via Student Support and Wellbeing. For in the moment support that can’t wait for an appointment with the Student Support and Wellbeing team at Kent, you can call or text our partner organisation Spectrum Life.
For external support for anyone, the charity Cruse provides bereavement support via telephone, chat and resources.
Written by Natalia Crisanti and Joshua Stevens, Student Services staff, on 28.11.21