Different culture groups have different ways of marking the death of someone they love. Some mourn in a way which celebrates the life of the deceased; others make a great and visible show of their grief.. Traditionally, we in Britain are generally very low key in our response to death, marking it with a funeral and perhaps a gathering afterwards, but with no recognised period of mourning and often no great show of feeling. This can leave people feeling very alone in dealing with the intense personal emotions they may be experiencing.
The death of someone who is significant to you is one of the hardest things you will experience in your life. Whether it is expected or a shock, the enormity of loss is something that impacts on you in a very profound way.
Grief takes a long time to work through. There are no hard and fast guidelines for this. It takes as long as it takes, but as a general rule it will take longer than you expect. It is important not to try to 'get over it' too quickly, not to adopt a 'stiff upper lip' attitude. Grief is an inevitable and human response. If suppressed, it may well surface at some later, less appropriate stage. Sometimes there seems to be an expectation that you will have recovered after a certain time has elapsed, but everyone has their own recovery time which cannot be hurried.
The first anniversary of the death is an important milestone and can be particularly difficult. Subsequent birthdays and anniversaries can be poignant reminders of your loss, and you may need to find your own way of dealing with such times by either marking them as special commemorative events or by ensuring you distract yourself while time passes.
Where to get help
Cruse Bereavement Care provides telephone counselling, information and advice for anyone who has experienced bereavement. They provide services aimed at young people (16 to 25) including a helpline and website RD4U.
General helpline: 0844 477 9400
Helpline for young people: 0808 808 1677 (Mon - Fri, 9.30 - 5pm)
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is a self-help organisation set up to meet the needs of those bereaved by the suicide of a close friend or family member. They provide a helpline, information, email support and access to local support groups.
Helpline: 0844 561 6855 (9am - 9pm daily)