The ‘comedown’ after the funeral
From the moment a loved one passes away, we as a family start on the busy whirlwind of organising the practicalities such as registering the death and organising the funeral.
Between appointments and phone calls, we welcome visits from friends and family who want to express their sympathies and make sure we’re OK.
Days fly by and we tend to get through them on autopilot, with our thoughts occupied by what’s next on the ‘to-do’ list.
The day of the funeral goes by in a blur and we’re relieved everything went as well as it could have done and that we somehow got through it.
Then, in the days and weeks afterwards, we find that we don’t have as much to do and we’re left with spare time to fill.
Our friends and family, whilst they still care, have their own lives to lead and check in on us now and then.
The practical tasks are mostly complete and we’re left alone with our loved one’s absence.
The transition from life being full-on and busy to still and quiet often comes as a shock and leaves us feeling a bit lost – especially as quite often the full realisation and weight of the loss hasn’t quite hit us yet.
It’s a strange period of still between the loss and the full weight of grief taking effect and this time in our grief journey can be confusing and lonely.
The most important thing during the post-funeral ‘comedown’ is that you remain mindful of how you are feeling and look after yourself by:
- Not pushing away feelings that come up: Acknowledge the feelings as and when they come up, however painful they may be.
- Setting yourself goals: Give yourself achievable tasks to give you a reason to get up and about. They could be as simple as going for a walk each day or cooking a meal from scratch or they could be bigger practical tasks. Basically, anything that adds a purpose to your day.
- Taking care of yourself: However hard it may seem at the time, try to make sure you’re eating enough healthy food and are getting enough sleep. This will make everything else seem a little bit more bearable than if you are exhausted and lacking in the right nutrients.
- Practicing good sleep hygiene: If you’re someone that is finding it hard to fall or stay asleep since the loss of your loved one, setting yourself a sleep routine can really help. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, even if you don’t fall asleep, and setting your alarm for the same time each morning, even if you’ve not slept well and wish to sleep in. It can really help adjust yourself back to good night’s sleeping. If you’re someone that wakes up in the middle of the night with a head full of thoughts, it might be worth leaving a pen and paper next to your bed to ‘empty your head’ on to, leaving it quiet enough to go back to sleep. Relaxing music or sleep meditations can also be really useful in helping you to drift off.
- Reaching out: Sometimes friends and family take a step away because they don’t want to intrude or don’t quite know how to help. If you feel you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, reach out and ask for the support. If you are worried about talking to those around you for fear of upsetting them, consider attending a bereavement support group where you can meet others in a similar situation or grief counselling where you can receive 1-2-1 support.
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and accepting of any feelings that arise at this time.
For more help or support visit https://www.wathalls.co.uk/bereavement-support/ or contact Wathall’s Bereavement Support Coordinator and qualified Counsellor Fay Bloor on 01332 345268 or email@example.com