Grief Counselling: The Importance of Discussing Loss

• Written by Katie

When we lose a loved one, many emotions course through our bodies. Sometimes it can be difficult to confront these emotions, and so we suppress them or keep them to ourselves. However, it is important not to ignore these feelings. In this article, we will look at the importance of discussing loss, and how grief counselling can help.

The Five Stages of Grief

You may have heard of the stages of grief that follow a loss. They were first proposed by Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book, ‘On Death and Dying‘. These are a series of emotions many people experience, though not all. As the name suggests, people will move through these stages, though they may not happen in any particular order. For some people, they may hit all at once.

The five stages of grief are:

  • Denial – Often described as a numbness to the loss, some people will act as though nothing has happened. They may act as though the lost loved one will come back any day now. In some cases, they may even claim to feel their presence, including hearing or seeing them.
  • Anger – When we lose a loved one, it can feel unfair. A person may adopt a disdain for the world, especially if their loved one has passed away suddenly or with unfinished business. It is also natural for a person to feel angry at the person who has died for leaving them. They may also be angry at themselves, thinking they could have done something different to prevent the loss from happening.
  • Bargaining – The pain of loss can leave a person wanting to change things. They may turn to religion, making promises in the hope of having a loved one returned to them. The bereaved person may think that acting in certain ways will fix things or make them feel better. Like the anger stage, they may wonder whether they could have done things differently, wishing they could go back and address them.
  • Depression – When it starts to become clear that a loved one isn’t coming back, sadness is likely to become the dominant emotion. The sadness that accompanies loss can become very overpowering, sometimes making life seems meaningless, and there is no rule for how long it can last. Sometimes, depression as a result of grief can last for years.
  • Acceptance – Generally, the final stage of grief is acceptance. Though the other stages may continue to affect a person, they will fade into the background. Once a person has accepted that they have lost a loved one, it can be easier to cope with the pain. The memories will remain, and the pain may also be there, but they can live normally again.

The Importance of Discussing Loss

Many of us may feel we need to explore our grief alone. This is understandable. Grief is a very personal thing, and it affects everyone differently. However, processing everything alone can be exhausting, and you might not adopt the healthiest of coping mechanisms.

It’s important to remember that you are allowed to feel the emotions that come with grief. In fact, facing these emotions and discussing them aids the grieving process. Avoiding the topic is understandable, as discussing death often reminds us of our own mortality. However, the advantages of talking about loss tend to outweigh the drawbacks.

Helps to Process Emotions

In the UK, we often adopt a stance of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’. This means avoiding getting emotional and just getting on with things. However, this can have negative impacts on our wellbeing. You might feel more stressed or anxious than normal. This stress can also impact your physical health and increases the risks of developing diabetes or heart complications. Furthermore, suppressing your emotions can lead to strained relationships.

By opening up and talking about how you feel, you confront the origins of your emotions. For example, you may have been experiencing bouts of anger without understanding why. Discussing these feelings could not only highlight the origins of these emotions, but also identify methods of addressing them.

Share Memories

When we relive memories alone, they can often be tinged with sadness. This could be because you can no longer share those memories with the loved one you have lost. However, you may not be the only person with memories to look back on. And one of the best ways to ensure memories live on is to share them with others.

Discussing memories of a deceased loved one with friends or family can help you to perceive those memories differently. You may find yourself able to look back on time together with joy instead of sadness. There is a famous quote that states: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened“. By discussing loss, you can take this idea to heart.

Get Advice

When experiencing grief, some of the best people you can talk to are those who have experienced it themselves. They can provide insight into the grieving process that may help you to process your own emotions. Granted, everyone processes grief differently. However, you can take comfort in the knowledge that other people know how you feel.

For many people experiencing grief, the reluctance to open up can be connected to a fear that other people won’t understand. They can feel isolated and alone. The fear that other people will think you are overreacting, or otherwise judge you, may prevent you from discussing loss and how it has made you feel. If you cannot find a friend or family member you feel you can talk to, grief counselling or ‘grief groups’ could provide this opportunity.

Eliminate Isolation

Loneliness is a problem facing many elderly people in the UK today. For people experiencing grief – elderly or otherwise – it can become a much more difficult time. As outlined above, people experiencing grief may be reluctant to discuss their feelings with others for fear of being judged. However, this insular attitude could lead to a breakdown of relationships and a worsening of mental health.

When faced with loss, it is important not to create barriers between yourself and others. If you are experiencing grief, others will feel the same way. You are not a burden for wanting to discuss your pain with others.

Why Choose Grief Counselling?

Sometimes, it can still be a challenge to discuss our grief with loved ones. This may be because we are worried about troubling them or feel that they’re too busy. Whilst these obstacles can be overcome, you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone else. A grief counsellor gives you someone to talk to without the pressure of pre-existing relationships. Their entire role is focused around letting you express your worries and emotions in a safe space. It may be that discussing these feelings with a grief counsellor could break down whatever barriers are preventing you from discussing loss with loved ones.

Moreover, grief counselling will give you access to specialist knowledge that can help you move forward. Grief never fully goes away, but you can learn to live with it and use it as a positive force in your life. By going to grief counselling and discussing loss, this process could become easier.

Other forms of grief counselling involve joining a group of other bereaved individuals. As you will all be going through similar experiences, it can make it easier to open up. Sometimes, the most important thing is knowing you’re not alone.

Support in the Home from LifeConnect24

The loss of a loved one can make us more anxious about our own wellbeing. If you need some additional peace of mind, a personal alarm from LifeConnect24 could offer support at home. In the event of a fall, or if you feel unwell, a simple press of a button is all it takes to get help.

When a LifeConnect24 alarm pendant is activated, it sends an alert to our 24/7 Response Team. They will assess the situation by speaking to you through your alarm unit. If you need help – or if they do not hear a response – they will arrange support by informing your emergency contacts. When necessary, they will also alert the emergency services. Help will then be sent to your property.

You can find out more about our lifesaving personal alarm service by reading our helpful guide. LifeConnect24 alarms can be ordered online, or you can call our friendly customer service team on 0800 030 8999 and they will answer any questions you may have.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 17th May 2024.

LifeConnect24 Personal Alarm supports you at home 24/7
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LifeConnect24 Personal Alarm supports you at home 24/7
LifeConnect24 Personal Alarm supports you at home 24/7
LifeConnect24 Personal Alarm supports you at home 24/7
LifeConnect24 Automatic Fall Detector 24/7 monitoring
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