Coping with Bereavement  

Coping with Bereavement   Coping with Loneliness Connecting with Others
Coping with Bereavement (Infographics)   Coping with Loneliness Connecting with Others (Infographics)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may confront with the passing away of family member, friend or beloved. Owing to various reasons, arrangement of traditional funerals and gatherings are restricted. These changes may easily intensify the next of kin’s distress. Knowing ways to come through the grief and loss and adapt to new life are vital for our mental health.

Walk with Grieve 
The death of our family member usually brings a series of complicated emotions, such as sadness, fear, anger, self-blame, emptiness, disorientation, numbness, etc. These are all normal reactions. The grieving responses vary among different people and there is no right or wrong response. Identify and handle these feelings properly may embark upon the recovery journey. Please pay attention to the following methods to deal with bereavement:  

  • Understand restlessness is solely due to the loss of important relative and friend.  It does not indicate your weakness or inadequacy.
  • Learn that restlessness usually persists for a while (e.g. a few weeks, few months or even longer) before fading out. Allow yourself and family members time to settle down and there is no need to rush.
  • Accept things are not always happened under our control. Avoid overly blaming yourself.   
  • Accept that one may repeatedly reminisce about the deceased. Show understanding and avoid blaming if one shows intrusive thoughts, ruminations and distress. 
  • Be prepared for some special dates (e.g. birthday, festivals or death anniversary) because those seemingly settled emotions may recur. 

The Journey of Recovery
Ways below could help the next of kin to relieve sorrows and embark on the recovery journey:

  • Be flexible. Mourn the deceased and express your inner feelings in ways that suit you. Console the next of kin and support each other (e.g. extend condolences to the next of kin via phone calls, writing letters or remember the deceased in your mind and sincerely offer the deceased your very best wishes).
  • Recall fond memories of the deceased (e.g. optimistic personality, the helping hand lent to the others or happy time spent together) appropriately to balance the sadness.
  • When appropriate, do something on the deceased’s behalf that he/she would be pleased (e.g. console other relatives and friends, donate the deceased’s belongings to the needy or organ donation).
  • Understand that expressing sorrows over the deceased does not represent being harsh to yourself. Take good care of yourself, cherish the things you have and live your life to the fullest. 
  • Communicate more with the people you trust, express your inner feelings, accept the care from the others, accompany and support each other.
  • Maintain healthy routines (e.g. sleep well, eat healthily, exercise moderately, healthy hobbies and avoid using inappropriate ways, such as smoking, drinking or drug abuse, to relieve stress).
  • Pay attention to whether you and family members show symptoms of severe mental health problems (e.g. persistent depressed mood, disturbed sleep, significant appetite changes and self-harm thoughts or behaviours). Seek help from professionals the soonest if there is a change in situation.

Embrace and Live on in the Memory
The loss of beloved brings deep sorrow. Complex feelings and thoughts often reflect our close connection with the deceased. Although the pain and sadness may not fade out completely, our past experience and memories with the deceased, as well as the care and support received will integrate into and live on in the memory for the rest of our lives. 


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