Grief and Bereavement
What is Grief?
It is important to realize that grief is the natural, normal and expected response to loss. Although grief can be very difficult, it is the necessary process of adjusting to and learning to cope with a major change in your life.
Some things to understand about grief:
- Everyone grieves in their own way; there is no right or wrong way to grieve
- Grief impacts emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual health
- Grief can last for a long time, often much longer than society recognizes
- Grief is non-linear, it changes and evolves over time
You May Experience
How you experience grief will be unique to you and may be different than the others around you who are also grieving. There is no right or wrong way for each person to feel. Some things you may experience while grieving:
- An overwhelming and all-encompassing feeling of loss
- The need to tell, and retell, the experience of your person’s death
- Physical reactions: upset stomach, headaches, muscle aches, sleep problems, loss of appetite, heaviness in the chest and more…
- Emotional reactions: shock, disbelief, sadness, despair, anger, anxiety, guilt, relief, joy, confusion, numbness, fear and more…
- Cognitive reactions: difficulty concentrating or making decisions, inability to focus or changes in problem-solving ability
- Spiritual reactions: challenges in your personal belief system
- And more….
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to experience grief in your own way.
Elements of Healing
It takes great courage to cope with a loss and begin to embrace life again. Grief does not go away; rather it becomes integrated into your daily life. For many people, the grieving process can last for weeks, months or even years. Your grief will evolve and change over time, often becoming more manageable as you move forward on the path to healing. Some signs of healing are:
- Eating, sleeping and exercise return to baseline
- Improved ability to participate and enjoy daily life
- A renewed sense of energy and purpose
- Establishing new and healthy relationships
- Ability to discuss and remember your person’s life
- Ability to carry both grief and gratitude
As healing happens, it is normal and common to experience renewed grief. Renewed grief is a sudden upsurge in your grief that can come on at any point. Renewed grief is often prompted by things such as a memory, song, special date, the holidays or anniversary of your person’s death. This is not a setback to your grieving process.
Finding Additional Support
During times of loss and grief, it can be helpful to surround yourself with people who can provide you with acceptance and support. Below are some resources available in Manitoba.
Telephone Support lines:
- Palliative Manitoba Province Wide Bereavement Support Phone Line (Palliative Manitoba): 1-800-539-0295
- Hope for Wellness Line (Indigenous peoples): 1-855-242-3310
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Winnipeg Humane Society Pet Loss Support Line: 1-204-988-8804
- Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line: 1-877-435-7170
Grief Support Groups
- Brandon and Area Suicide Bereavement Support Group (SPIN): 1-204-761-4083
- Brockie Donovan Funeral Services Grief Seminars (Brandon): 1-204-727-0694
- Compassionate Friends of SW Manitoba (Brandon and areas): 1-855-727-1823
- Dauphin Way United Methodist Church Grief Groups (Dauphin): 1-251-378-7524
- GriefShare Support Group (Dauphin): 1-204-648-7053
- GriefShare Support Group (Russell): 1-204-773-6963
- Healing Hearts Substance Use Bereavement Support Group (Brandon): 1-204-573-0188
- Memories Chapel Journey Through Grief Support Group (Brandon): 1-204-727-0330
- New Beginnings Grief and Loss Group (Neepawa): 1-204-476-3027
- Palliative Manitoba Kids and Teens Grieve Too! Support Group (virtual): 1-800-539-0295
- Paull Funeral Home Grief Recovery Program (Swan River): 1-204-293-9661
- Prairie Mountain Health Camp Bridges (Children 7-15): 1-204-578-2340
- Westman Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba Grief Groups (Brandon) 1-204-721-2174
- Canadian Virtual Hospic
- Soaring Spirits International (support for widowed people)
- Lumara Grief and Bereavement Care Society
- What’s Your Grief?
- Children and Youth Grief Network
- Canadian Alliance for Grieving Children and Youth
- Private counsellor listings
- www.Speaking Grief.org