St John’s Winchester Charity

Handling Grief


The loss of someone close to you is a life changing event. It can be difficult to imagine how life can go on without that person in it. We recognise that, as funeral directors, there is only so much we can do to relieve the suffering felt by bereaved families, but we hope that by offering as much help and support as we are able, before, during and after the funeral, we will be able to help share the burden even if only a tiny amount.

Different people react in different ways to bereavement.  There has been a significant amount of research completed, and books written on the subject.  We cannot possibly hope to cover everything here, but there are a few key steps in the process that we will discuss briefly which may help you to understand how you, or the people around you may be feeling. For a fuller explanation please click here.

The different stages of grief that people go through include shock, sorrow, anger, apathy, and depression.  Not everyone experiences all of these emotions and some stages may last longer than others:

  • The initial shock can feel like a numbness, where the world carries on, but the bereaved person is no longer feeling a part of it, a sort of mental limbo.  This can lead to a stage of denial, a sense of it having been a dream, or that the doctors made a mistake.  Great care needs to be taken during the first couple of days as the bereaved can be very vulnerable and important decisions need to be made regarding the funeral arrangements.
  • Sorrow and sadness often develop as the person becomes aware that the loss is irreversible.  This can sometimes manifest itself as physical pain, particularly if they feel they need to be strong, and not show any signs of grief. This may be accompanied by a feeling of guilt that had they done more then perhaps the deceased person may not have died.
  • The bereaved may feel an irrational anger.  Friends and relations need to listen and be patient.
  • Apathy or depression may take the place of anger, where the bereaved shows indifference to what is going on around them, with a particular reluctance to make decisions.  Support from friends and family is important although it should be an encouragement to do things with them, rather than for them.

Gradually with time, a sense of acceptance grows and it becomes possible to make positive plans for the future and again find pleasure in everyday experiences.