Coping with Living Bereavement
What do we mean by Living Bereavment?
As grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel says ‘Grief starts at the point of diagnosis, when we can no longer assume, as most of us do, that we are going to continue to live for the foreseeable future’.
Living with the knowledge that our time on earth, or that of a loved one, is shorter than we thought it was going to be can seem unbearable, but finding the right support may help to ease some of the pain and distress.
Where to find help and support
There are some wonderful websites and support groups that can help and guide you. Please see the section below ‘Support when preparing for life’s end for you or a loved one’ to find one that is right for you.
There is an extensive network of hospices throughout the United Kingdom. Hospice UK, the national charity working for those experiencing dying, death and bereavement, has a list of hospice members and other partners who work in end of life care.
End of Life Doulas & Soul Midwives
With medical services and professionals stretched to the limit, it is not always possible for them to give patients the extra care, support and information they need when they are facing the end of their life. An End of Life Doula or Soul Midwife can fill this void.
Living Well Dying Well, a West Sussex based organisation that trains Doulas, explains the concept and role of an End of Life Doula:
“Doulas are trained in supporting people at the beginning (birth doulas) and end of life. ‘End of Life Doulas’ walk alongside the individual, their family and their community as an informed companion. They are sensitive to practical, emotional and spiritual needs and are a consistent and compassionate presence, with knowledge, experience and understanding. Their role is to preserve the quality of wellbeing, sense of identity and self-worth from the moment of diagnosis. They do not replace medical care, but facilitate access to resources that are available and also recognise the frequently intangible elements of life that can have a major impact on the family as they strive to maintain the best quality of life possible.”
Even if you have supportive family and friends, having someone with knowledge and expertise who can help you navigate the medical, psychological and practical aspects in the last weeks or months, can help make a very difficult time a little easier for you and those around you.
For more information, please see: