5 Steps To Support Employees Through Bereavement

5 Steps To Support Employees Through Bereavement


It is so important that we can rely on our employees, and that means serving their needs just as much as they serve ours.  During this time of pandemic we have seen grief on all levels from bereavement to grieving for life as we knew it and all the things in between.

When someone dies, most people don’t know what the right thing to say is and as the employer you will be one of the first to be informed of the bereavement. Your support at this time is invaluable and can make a huge difference in the workplace. Employees are extended family, working with you to achieve a positive result for your business. Even though you pay them for the work they do, they will repay you for your understanding.

So as an employer, it is vital that we are aware of the importance of emotional support following a bereavement. A happy team is a productive team and why shouldn’t our workplace be somewhere we can find solace and some good advice? Many charities have been helped by colleagues who raise funds following a bereavement and a great sense of community can be created when we come together like this.

  • Be in front and be prepared. Learn about grief support yourself so you feel comfortable supporting your employees when they need it. Have a bereavement support policy in place which addresses legal requirements and your individual company guidance. Let everyone have a say in the creation of the policy. Have regular discussions about the policy and ensure everyone is familiar with it, so that they are already aware of the expectation both ways and this helps tremendously by removing any unnecessary worry or misinterpretation at a time when they are grieving and pre-occupied with their loss.
  • Have a return-to-work policy to help soften the re-introduction to the workplace which includes ongoing support. Arrange an initial first chat where the employee feels most comfortable – their home, the workplace etc. to discuss the most effective way to proceed. It is important to know that grief isn’t a clear cut process and is an incredibly personal experience based upon several factors. Some may need the familiarity of routine and want to return to their position in full force. Others may struggle to return to their usual way of working and may need a phased reintroduction to build up their hours. Grief takes away our concentration and even the simplest of task can become challenging.
  • Grief doesn’t have an expiry date. When someone experiences a bereavement, they usually have lots of support in the first days, weeks and months following the loss, then everyone (or most people) return back to their own lives leaving the griever carrying their loss on their own and this can create a sense of feeling isolated from the people around them. Due to the nature of our work environments, our workplace can be one of the first places that the bereaved employee can feel that their loss has been forgotten. Make a diary entry on the anniversary. Have everyone sign a card and put some flowers at their work station. There is nothing so beautiful as people remembering and showing how important that person was, and still is in your life.
  • Be an open door. Be a shoulder. Just be there. Sometimes a griever needs to talk to someone who isn’t related or emotionally involved and they may choose you as their employer or HR Manager etc. When a bereaved employee chooses to talk to you about how they feel, the best thing you can do is LISTEN. Don’t try and fix them or change how they feel. Grief is something that needs attention and expression.
  • Watch out for signs that they may be struggling – their time keeping may become poor, loss of care in personal appearance, over/under-eating, signs of alcohol/substance abuse, isolating themselves from the people they would normally interact with, when it comes to alcohol abuse, you may want to call Pacific Ridge for help. Work with them to help them though it. Offer what help you can and, if you feel it necessary, recommend some counselling.



7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession

7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession

7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession By Lianna Champ

Every industry is full of surprises, and the funeral profession is no different. No, we don’t sit around in black cloaks fantasising about death!


But we do have inside knowledge, and we’re here to educate you on the information you don’t know about. Let’s get started:


1. The Industry is Currently Unregulated

Most people have heard the saying — there are only two guarantees in life — death and taxes.

What’s interesting is how the government manage tax. It’s stringently regulated, and you’ll find qualified Tax Inspectors everywhere. Some will complete your tax return for you, tell you how much to pay, some will even tell you how to avoid it.

So we talk about tax being highly regulated. Let’s talk about death.

In England and Wales, the funeral profession is worth £2bn, yet it’s totally unregulated.

What does that mean? Anyone and I mean anyone can call themselves a Funeral Director and start trading.


7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession


Is There a Governing Body?

The National Association of Funeral Directors serves the profession, but subscription to the NAFD is entirely voluntary. If someone does something against their Code of Practice, they just get a fine.


What is Regulated?

Respect for the dead and protecting public health make burial or cremation an urgent task when someone dies, here’s how the law affects different parts of the funeral process:


Body Disposal

The actual disposal of the human body has no regulation whatsoever, and there’s no time limit on how long a body can be kept, though when I was training all those years ago, I was told that a body can only be kept until it becomes a health hazard.


There’s no protection or regulation of the respectful handling of a dead human body, which I feel is fundamentally wrong.


This should be a priority and isn’t, yet there are certain aspects surrounding funerals which are strictly regulated, even though you don’t have to use a Funeral Director or even have a funeral in the traditional sense of the word.

Cremation can only take place in a licensed crematorium, and if your cremation takes place early morning, it’s cheaper.



There is a minimum depth for the grave, and the siting and management of burial grounds are strictly regulated. There are also specific laws which must be adhered to regarding burial on private land.



Embalming is only a legal requirement if a body is being moved from one country to another.

The fluid used to embalm bodies is highly toxic, and there are EU plans to ban the use of Formaldehyde — the main component of embalming fluid.

This may mean that the profession will have to resort to expensive and costly temperature controlled storage facilities to enable the presentation of the body.


2. Your Will Wishes Aren’t Legally Binding

If you express your funeral wishes in your will or even have a funeral plan, these requests are not legally binding, and it actually depends upon the discretion of your executors or the person who’s responsible for making the funeral arrangements.


Family Disputes

In a recent survey by a funeral planning company, a quarter of deaths lead to family disputes, with 20% of these relating to the final disposal of the body by burial or cremation.

Sometimes, cremation is not acceptable to certain religions, and in these days of blended communities, this can create conflict with that final decision.

Also, in estranged families, some family members want to prevent other family members from viewing the body before the funeral. Some families even keep the funeral details private, thereby preventing attendance.

Funeral Directors are often referees, peacemakers, magicians, allies, enemies yet always, and I repeat always, calm, collected and unbiased. Funeral Directors perform an amazing role and can conjure and create something on the spot.


Funeral Instructions

7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession

Funeral instructions are not legally binding. Your family can ignore specific directions set out in your will or prepaid funeral plan.

You have to trust that your expressed wishes will be carried out. Great for the families who get along.

However, if you make your wishes known in a will or funeral plan and the final decision has to be made in a court of law, your written wishes will be taken into consideration.

There’s no law around who owns a dead human body, though certain people do have the authority to dispose of it.

First and foremost, there will be the deceased’s personal representatives or executors of the will. The purpose of a will is to deal with the disposal of property, and a body is not property.


3. The Government Plans to Regulate Prepaid Funerals

Funeral plans aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or any other statutory regulator.

Even though a prepaid plan resembles an insurance product, the law exempts providers from regulation by the FCA if they put clients money either into a trust or a ‘whole of life’ insurance policy. The vast majority of – if not all – providers make use of these exemptions.

This also means funeral plan purchasers are unable to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service and have no protection if a provider goes out of business.

In 2018, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme issued a warning that, contrary to what some might think, it does not provide protection for individuals who have a funeral plan with a provider that fails.

This is because the plans are not categorised as a ‘designated investment’ under FSCS compensation rules. It added: “It is unlikely that the FSCS would be able to pay compensation directly to individuals.”

It’s not clear why the FSCS chose to issue this warning, but there’s no suggestion it was worried about a particular company.

The Funeral Planning Authority was set up in 2002 by the industry to regulate providers. However, this is an ‘opt-in’ scheme which has no legal powers over providers. Of 70 complaints against providers it received last year, only five made it to the dispute resolution stage.

The government has been looking into the regulation of Prepaid Funerals to protect consumers and also to prevent another ‘PPI’ scandal. However, it has now taken a back seat, apparently due to Brexit, so we are no nearer at this stage to safeguarding all those who have invested.

Our advice to you — tell your family your wishes and place the money in an ISA for when the time comes or really do your homework and ensure that your selected funeral director is qualified, governed and legal.


4. Anyone Can Be a Funeral Director

Due to their being no professional requirements to become a Funeral Director, anyone could set up a business tomorrow. Unfortunately, this leads to rogue traders (yes, it happens) who don’t have the right qualifications or experience. And because they’re cheap, people use them.

Funeral directing is a vocation, not a job. We infuse every action with spirituality. As painful as the separation of death is, we have to make it an adventure which can be navigated with sensitivity, grace and dignity.

You should always ensure that your Funeral Director is professionally qualified with the National Association of Funeral Directors. They will have Dip FD after their name which shows they hold the Diploma in Funeral Directing.

Anyone can call themselves a ‘professional Funeral Director’, so please dare to ask for evidence of this. Each funeral will only ever take place once.

7 Things You Don’t Know About the Funeral Profession


5. Funeral Directors Aren’t De-sensitised to Death

We are not de-sensitised to death. We are just as devoted to living as the next person. Spending so much time around death encourages us to make better use of the lives we are leading. Just ask Carl at Champ on any day of the week, “How are you?”, and he will always reply “Wonderful. What’s the alternative?”.

Funeral Directors are interested in death, but not for the reasons you think. Our interest is more about changing our cultural approach to death and dying, and to make it easier and more acceptable to talk about funerals, our wishes and our grief.


6. We’re Open 24/7!

Funeral Directors hours can be very long, we’re probably the only profession that works and is available 24 hours a day. Most other 24/7 jobs do shifts. We don’t.

We can be called out at 4.00am and still have to turn up for work at 8.30am the following morning.

We can be called from family gatherings, dinners, and special occasions to attend to that first call.

Having to get the body in the right coffin, in the right outfit, to the right church, with the right hymns, the right Vicar, and the right family, with the right flowers, and the right cars, to the right crematorium, with the right music, and the obituaries, in the right newspapers, doesn’t half keep us on our toes.

Not forgetting the vehicles must always be pristine and the enormous amount of office admin and statutory paperwork per funeral that we must do too.


7. Funerals Aren’t a Rip Off

A common stereotype of Funeral Directors is that they want to rip you off. But that’s not the case, especially with progressive funeral homes that have been founded with a mission of serving the needs and desires of those who are dying or have died, and their families.

There are approximately 40 man hours involved in each funeral, and if your chosen FD has proper premises, education and grief care, you will always find value.


funeral piggy bank


Has Your Opinion Changed?

Did you know any of the information we listed above? Has it changed your opinion of the funeral industry? And will you be more careful next time you have to use a Funeral Director?


15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care

15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care

15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care By Lianna Champ


1. Flowers

There are more requests for donations in lieu of flowers, so those that decorate the casket are mainly from family. Sending a lovely bouquet to the family home is a thoughtful way to show you care and flowers can brighten their surroundings.


2. Food

When we are bereaved, it can be difficult to carry out the simplest of tasks and cooking often takes a back seat as we can be pulled in so many different directions. A timely casserole or lovely home baked cake to share with visitors is often welcome.


3. Your Time

Offer to help around the house or with shopping and ironing. Schedule a time to do this and keep to it. Gifts of time are wonderful and are always greatly appreciated.

15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care


4. Memory Candle

A personalised candle makes a beautiful bereavement gift and the candle can be lit on special days of remembrance as well as those times when we just need to connect and harness our thoughts in the most spiritual of ways. The flame signifies the continuation of the spirit even after death.


5. Photo Frame

Presenting a beautiful photo is a lovely gesture and can evoke memories of happy times.


6. Memory Box or Jar

This creates an on-going, unfolding gift where favourite memories can be written down as they are brought to mind on decorated pieces of paper and placed in the memory box. Special items can also be added — a lock of hair, photo, pebbles, crystal heart or anything that has meaning for you. It’s lovely to be able to open the memory box on those occasions when you need to feel close to the person you have lost.


7. Plant or Shrub

Another lovely bereavement gift which can be presented in a beautiful tub or planted in the garden, especially for lovers of the outdoors and gardeners. If cremation has been selected, the ashes or a portion of them can be blended into the soil, creating a living memorial.

gift for bereaving


8. Tree Bauble

A personalised bauble with a loving message on can be hung indoors or outdoors all year round. There are also baubles which can be personalised for Christmas to hang on a Christmas tree. Christmas is a family time and hanging a personalised bauble can help to bring us into communion with those we have lost and they will be there in our thoughts each time our eyes fall upon the bauble.


9. Memory Bear

When we lose someone, we store so much love for them inside and it doesn’t always have somewhere to go. A bear is wonderful as we can hug it, and let’s be honest everyone loves a bear. Buy or make a baby top for the bear and have the name of the person who has died embroidered onto the top. Bears are a lovely way for us to give that much-needed hug especially if we need a good cry.


10. Wild Flower Tokens

A symbol of the continuity of life. There’s something quite special about planting something. It directs our thoughts to the person we love and gives their spirit energy. Watching the flowers grow also evokes our love for the person.


11. Memorial Garden Ornament

A special bereavement gift for those who particularly love nature, the outdoors or their garden. A memorial sundial or a bird table makes a lovely gift which can be enjoyed for many years. They can help to connect us with the rhythms of nature reminding us of the beauty in life and the warmth of the sun.

gifts for bereavement


12. Cushion

A cushion or item made from cuts of the favourite pieces clothing of the person who has died. This can make a totally unique and personal bereavement gift.


13. Memorial Jewellery

There are many beautiful jewellery bereavement gifts available from fingerprint items to lockets and hearts for photos, locks of hair and grains of cremated remains. A beautiful way to remember and a lovely keepsake.


14. Spa Treatment Gift Voucher

When someone is grieving, there’s nothing more comforting than the feeling of being wrapped in cotton wool. A gift voucher for a soothing massage or healing therapy can be most welcome.


15. Crystals

Crystals are a beautiful bereavement gift and can be chosen for a particular area of focus. E.g. Rose quartz is for healing and love and they can be held in the hand for moments of reflection, meditation and spirituality.

15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care


15 Ideas for Bereavement Gifts That Show You Care

If you’d like to talk to someone about a bereavement, or need help with any other part of your life, visit our contact page and get in touch.

Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide

Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide

Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide

Author: Lianna Champ

Our Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide, which contains everything you need to think about before you arrange a funeral, or when you need to arrange a funeral immediately:


Visit a Few Funeral Homes First

Find the right funeral home for you. It’s really easy to find funeral directors who will provide the process. That’s the easiest part. Funerals are an emotional event and you need the right grief help and support to navigate this.


On the day of the funeral, your physical relationship ends with the person who has died, but your emotional relationship will continue until the day you die.


Ensure your funeral home not only provides correct facilities and comfort but can also demonstrate an understanding of your emotional needs. The memories will remain with you long after the practical part is forgotten.


They must provide a mixture of dignity, ceremonial skills and cultural awareness.


Choice of Burial or Cremation



The ratio of cremation to burial is approximately 80% cremation. With cremation, you can have the ashes afterwards and you can choose where to place them.


You may want to keep some or all of them at home. There are many beautiful ashes keepsakes which are lovely if you want to keep a small portion for yourself. There are also full-size containers to choose from.


  • Scatter — Garden of Remembrance
  • You may want to scatter the ashes privately at a special place
  • You may buy a lovely large plant pot and place them in the soil and place the ashes and plant a lovely flowering shrub, like a Camellia
  • You can have them scattered at sea
  • Place them under a tree
  • Ashes can also be placed in a family grave or an ashes grave in a cemetery



If you have a family grave with space, you may select burial. If there is no family plot, you can purchase a new grave either in your borough or in your local churchyard, if there are plots available.


Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide


With burial, you have a permanent place to visit and can place an engraved headstone on the grave (there may be restrictions on wording or design)


The initial outlay for a new grave and headstone is far greater than the cost for cremation.



If there is a major hobby or professional achievement, the ceremony can be created around this. You could include colours, flags, anthems, balloons, doves. Anything is possible and a good funeral professional will help you to discover just how you want it to be.


Type of Ceremony



Which can either be held in your church or at the local crematorium or cemetery chapel


funeral guidance



Humanists neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of a god and after death we are nothing. There is no afterlife. The ceremony is based on personality and humanist beliefs. These ceremonies can take place at a venue of your choice.



A civil ceremony is based around the person who has died and their beliefs and the wishes and beliefs of their family.  Prayers can be included and the ceremony can be more holistic.


Family Led

Written and delivered in your own words and in your own way.


What You Need to Know For The Ceremony


Type of Casket

Depending on the type of ceremony, there are many different options to consider:

  • Standard type of veneered coffin — suitable for burial or cremation
  • Solid wood coffin — suitable for burial or cremation but an expensive option for cremation
  • Eco basket — suitable for cremation and also only permitted for natural burial: bamboo, willow, wicker, water hyacinth, banana leaf
  • Colourful coffin — any design you like
  • A white or plain coloured coffin that you can write your own messages on or attach images
  • Cardboard Coffin
  • Woollen Coffin



  • You can choose hymns to sing in Church or another venue.
  • Play favourite songs and tunes
  • A favourite song can be played whilst people place a flower on the casket
  • Your own recordings



Candles can be lit. They signify our continuation even after death, that our light will always shine. Lighting candles can be an ongoing ritual for anniversaries and special days of remembrance.


Champ Funerals: Funeral Planning Guide



Very often family members or friends like the honour of carrying the coffin. Your Funeral Professional will advise you.



Traditional — motor hearse or horse-drawn carriage. The hearse can be decorated to match the theme of the day.


Modern — anything from a canal barge to a milk float.



Do you want a traditional black dress or would you like everyone to add a splash of colour?



These can be a source of great comfort and not only contain the funeral details, but they also become a life story synopsis. Creating these can be really therapeutic as we draw on our memories and feel a closeness. There is something really healing about talking and writing about someone we love.



Choose your favourite photos and use them :


  • In the Order of Service
  • To decorate the reposing room
  • Enlarged on an easel at the service
  • For a collage at the reception afterwards
  • Make a photo book to hand out


Order of Service

Very often these become a keepsake. Not just because of the photographs but also to read the poems again and to hear the songs or music that was played. Music can be so emotive.



Flowers can say so much and anything can be created. Flowers can be simple or can be made to depict a hobby or favourite animal. There is no end to what you can create and a good florist will be helpful and able to suggest possibilities.


funeral guider



Families are often choosing to have one main family tribute for the casket and give the option to make a donation in memory. This helps to raise awareness if the illness or condition is not widely known. Donations made online are also gift aided.


Symbolic gestures

  • The placing of flowers on the casket
  • Balloon release
  • Dove release
  • Sticking pictures or writing on the casket
  • Lighting Candles (see above)
  • Touching the casket
  • A toast of Whisky or favourite tipple


Everyone is unique. Every relationship we have is unique. Just like our own fingerprint. There is no one size fits all. Why have a package when you can have an experience which can remain with you and comfort you by making special memories of the day.


We hope that this opens up your imagination so that you can talk about these things before you actually need to do them.


Also, please do speak to your chosen Funeral Director who will help you with all your planning and pre-preparation to create a perfect send-off.

Planning your Own Funeral — The Advantages and Disadvantages

Planning Your Own Funeral — The Advantages and Disadvantages

Planning your Own Funeral — The Advantages and Disadvantages

It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of living that we forget that we, and those we love, are one day going to die, that everything is bound to change and nothing is permanent. In the realisation of this, it’s important to consider the ways we can prepare for this inevitability. Arranging a funeral plan is one of the ways you can do this, here are our advantages and disadvantages:


planning your own funeral

Planning your Own Funeral — The Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’d like to know more about planning your own funeral, please get in touch with our team, and we can help you get things underway.

Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss

Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss

Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss

Author: Lianna Champ.   At some point in your life, unless you die early, a significant loss will occur, and everything you know and love will come crashing down around you.


Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, something they value or something they thought was meant to be. At that moment everything changes permanently, and there will be nothing you can do but grieve.


The Immediate Impact Of Loss

Losing someone you love makes time seem to stand still. The past, the present and the future all roll into one, and this can create a concertina of emotions.


We think of all the things that we may have said or wished we had said, the things we had done or wished we had done and also, the things that we wish we hadn’t said or done.


We also think about the plans we had for the future. We see the relationship through a kaleidoscope — the whole relationship in parts, at lightning speed. We are taken out of the present moment, and we cannot prepare for the overwhelming suffocation of pain.


We are ripped out of the present moment and sucked into a vacuum where nothing makes sense anymore.


Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss


Grief Can Confuse Us, But It’s Natural

As our brains and bodies react to the situation, we can lose our ability to concentrate. Simple tasks can become difficult, and it can feel as if the pain will be bigger than us.


Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the death of a loved one or the loss of someone or something we value, and how we react and our experiences of grief are unique, just like a fingerprint.


Here’s how you can cope when you lose someone close to you:


1. Realise That Each Grief Experience Is Unique

Even though we may share similar emotions to others, there’s no common order, no stages and no pattern as to how we will experience these emotions. Each grief experience is yours alone.


There are also many factors involved in how we cope: who we are as people, the things we learned as children, where we are at in our lives, and the nature of the relationship we had with the person who has died.


Misconceptions about there being stages to grieving can deny you your right to feel your emotional pain naturally, instinctively and authentically, and can even prevent the healthy expression of your grief — the one that is right for you. It’s an incredibly personal experience.


Therefore, we must allow each other the freedom of self-expression without comparing how we feel. We will each grieve in our way.


2. Listen As You Expect Others To Listen To You

listenting in grief

The most helpful thing we can do to help others is just to listen. Don’t jump in with your own experiences, unless it’s the right time.


Comparing our feelings following our own losses can minimise the importance of the other person’s feelings and can drive their pain deep down inside.


We must learn to listen to understand, not to reply. Very often when we are speaking from a place of pain, it sometimes just needs to be a ‘one-way conversation’.


Learn and practice the art of listening. Follow every word being spoken in your head, and this will keep you focused, helping the other person feel heard,  that they have released some of their emotional pain and without judgement of right and wrong.


Further Reading: 21 Comforting Quotes On Grief To Help Your Grieving Process


3. Don’t Interrupt When Someone Is Offloading

We are so used to people interrupting when we’re talking that we often miss the wonderful release of getting the words out. They don’t need to make sense or be analysed. It’s just like letting steam out of a pressure cooker; let it go. The interruption may break the thread of feeling and drive the emotion deep down inside.


Listening is one of the most important things that you can do to help anyone who is struggling following the loss of someone they love. We are so used to people planning what they are going to say to us instead of listening to what we are saying to them.


What a waste of time these sorts of conversations are. If we feel heard and there is no return comment of comparison or judgement, we feel that we have made a really important communication which helps clear some of the pain within.


Become a great listener — it will change your life and make you very popular.


4. Think About Your Children

Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss

Grief can manifest physically in both children and adults. Children may become clingy, begin wetting the bed or want to sleep with the light on. We must remember that young children do not always have the vocabulary to express their pain. They are just trying to find an anchor in this new chaos in their lives.


Explain to them in honest and simple words that whatever they are experiencing is right for them. Don’t ever let them feel that their reaction is abnormal.


Teenage children are also dealing with hormones and greater academic demands and can find themselves in a place where needs conflict with independence.


Answer the questions of children of all ages with honesty. Children learn their coping mechanisms from the adults around them.


They may not always hear what the adults are saying to them, but they will always watch what they do and see their reactions.


By sharing open and honest expressions of our pain when we experience the death of a loved one, we can teach our children that it is ok to show a true and natural expression of their feelings of sadness. Make them feel confident that we will accept their actions, their words and their tears, verbalising emotional pain is a powerful release.


5. Don’t Put Grief Off

Grief doesn’t have an expiry date, nor does it ever fully go away. It’s an unknown entity, an emotional handicap we live with each day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go on and live a happy life again.


Even though nothing can feel further from the truth at the time of, and following our losses, we may feel that all the light has been sucked out of everything, and we will never feel happiness again.


When we lose someone we love, we have to give our grief attention, and we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain. It really doesn’t matter what others think. This is about you not them. Let the pain out – in words, in tears.


6. Take A Step Back & Take Care Of Yourself

self care in grief

Take extra special care of yourself. Just as you would dress a wound, the heart also needs tending. If we look to the animals in the wild when they are hurt, they withdraw into their den to lick their wounds.


It’s the same for us – we need to step back and tend to the pain we are feeling. To slow right down and reconnect with what is going on deep down inside. There is much inner learning to be found in silence.


Allow yourself to weep if this is what you want to do. Never try to suppress tears as this will just drive the emotional pain deeper inside. We may feel wretched when we cry, but there is a sense of release and relief after we have cried. Tears are a chemical reaction and wash and soothe our pain.


Don’t pretend you are ok when you are not


7. Recognise Negative Coping Mechanisms

Be wary of short-term relievers such as alcohol, smoking, junk food etc. Many people find positive and constructive ways to reconcile their grief.


Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss


Some of us get stuck, unsure of whether we are coping or whether what we are doing is right or wrong, as we fumble for things to cling on to get through yet another day.


We may not even be consciously aware of what will serve our needs in the long term. So it’s valuable for our recovery to recognise if we have created negative coping mechanisms to block out or reduce our painful feelings.


If you are using negative coping mechanisms following the loss of someone you love, some of these may include:


  • Drinking more alcohol than usual
  • Smoking a lot more or starting after having given up
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Shopping too often for things you don’t need
  • Distracting yourself from thinking about how you’re feeling


Further Reading: How to Brighten Up Your Day With TV, Films & Music


8. Don’t Expect Too Much Of Yourself

There’s no calendar date for getting to that place where you’ve reconciled your loss. Accept that what you’re feeling is right for you. Be kind to yourself, and don’t expect too much from yourself or those around you. You are not a robot.


Working through grief takes time, so focus on the process, the journey rather than the destination.


As emotional beings, we never stay in the same state and are constantly fluctuating. We have moments where we come up for air.


There’ll be times when you get caught up in the act of living and let go of the memory. Then you will remember again, and you will return to grieving. This is normal. This is living with loss. The intensity will ebb and flow, and you will shift and change along the way.


9. Don’t Let Guilt Hold You In A Place Of Pain

It’s always important to learn the difference between guilt and regret. We always want to protect the ones we love, and when we can’t, we can find ourselves continually taking the blame and drowning ourselves with guilt.


It’s vital that we understand the difference between guilt and regret because guilt holds you in a place of pain.


Guilt follows deliberate wrongdoing – an action or words that we know was not the right thing to do or say at that particular time. Regret is a wish that something could have been done or said in a better way than it had been, had we known what was going to happen.


We see the action or words in a different light – If we had known the outcome, we would have acted differently – instead, we acted in innocence. Let go of any misplaced guilt which just holds you in a place of permanent mourning.


When you have arrived at that place where you have given yourself permission to move forward, you will feel a tiny flicker in your heart, and things will start to feel just a tiny bit lighter, things will start to look a tiny bit brighter and it all won’t feel so hard.


There’s no timescale to this. For me, it took me some years to get to that place following the loss of my Mum. I never thought I would feel ‘normal’ again. I kept replaying all those things I wanted to change over and over again. Then I realised I couldn’t, I could only communicate it to my mum in my heart, which I did – a lot.


10. Find Something That Makes You Feel Close To The Person Who Has Died

I often went to my mum for her pearls of wisdom – she had a wonderful way of looking at the world and had a phrase for everything. After I lost my Mum, a friend suggested I write down her sayings in a book.


Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss


I bought a lovely plain page notebook decorated with lovely hearts on the cover, and I wrote one of her sayings on each page. I still find myself adding her phrases to the book seven years after her death. I love that book.


You could do something similar to create a memory book. Perhaps ask family and friends to write down their favourite memories of the person who has died, sprinkled with phrases they used to say. It’s such a healing feeling to find something that soothes the pain of loss.


Losing Someone You Love: How To Cope With The Loss – If you want to take steps to help ease your physical symptoms of grief, please contact lianna@champfunerals.com or read more information about grief support.