Everyone’s grief experience is unique and personal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief can be unpredictable and we may experience emotions we have not experienced before. Reactions to grief can range from being overwhelmed to discomfort or feelings of relief.
The Bereavement Consultancy service is a resource providing support, conversation, referral and education for people grieving a death or seeking to understand the loss and grief experience. Bereavement Consultancy provides education and training on grief, loss and bereavement to the general public, community organisations, parishes, schools, health professionals, and funeral directors as requested.
If you are grieving and seek support please contact:
Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria Bereavement Consultancy
Please contact Bereavement Support for further information:
Office Telephone: 02 9646 6908
What is Grief?
Grief is a normal and natural reaction (physical, mental and emotional) to death and loss. While grieving we are trying to come to terms with the loss and changes in our life resulting from the death of a significant person. We have to somehow adjust to their absence and at the same time find new ways of connection with them and new ways of living.
How Long DOES GRIEF LAST?
The time is different for everyone. There is no “time frame,” nor stages for the grief process. Grief takes as long as it takes! The journey is gradual. Just as we take time to establish a relationship with someone, learning to live with our loss takes time.
Time does not heal – what heals is what we do with the time we call ‘bereavement’.
What Are the Experiences of Grief?
Grief experiences may be many and varied. They can occur for several months or even years after the death. We give ourselves the space to mourn, grieve, heal and honour our relationship with those who have died. Each situation is different.
As frightening as the pain and loss can be, most of us are resilient. We may be shocked, even wounded, by the loss. We may feel deeply saddened, hurt and we may feel adrift or lost for some time, but we do manage to find our way back to functioning and enjoying life.
Grief is a human experience. Grief is tolerable because it comes and goes. We move back and forth emotionally. We focus on the pain of the loss, its implications, its meanings, and then our minds swing back toward the immediate world, other people, and what is going on in the present. We are given respite from the pain by staying connected to other people who help us gradually adapt to the loss. Most of us get through loss and grief on our own resources.
Regardless of what the relationship was actually like, being able to accept the finality of the loss and find comfort, in memories of that person helps us along. We know the person has died, but in thinking and talking about them we find we have not lost everything. The relationship is not completely gone. The relationship can still be alive.
There is power in memories. Even when it seems as if we have lost someone forever, we find there is still something to hold onto, something to nurture, and something almost better than memory.
Help with GRIEF
Many of us find a balance between spending time alone and being with family and friends helpful. Due to the very personal nature of grief, it may also be useful to speak with a bereavement consultant who can provide sensitive and non-judgemental grief support services and grief counselling.
The real experts in grief are not clinicians but individuals who have their own personal unique loss and grief. In other words, the vast majority of us are perfectly capable of experiencing our grief and bereavement with support of friends and family. Grief assists the healing process and provides an opportunity for deeper human connection.
When someone significant in our lives dies, we ask ourselves questions such as: What does it really mean to lose someone? Does grief feel the same each time? Is it the same for everyone? Is it always pain and anguish? How long does it last? What if someone doesn’t appear to grieve enough? What if someone talks about having an ongoing relationship to the person who has died? Is that normal?
If we understand the different ways people react to loss, grief and bereavement, we understand something about what it means to be human, something about the way we experience life and death, love and meaning, sadness and joy.
If you are seeking further information for bereavement counselling or grief support services see our Grief Support Services Directory.