Grief, Loss & Dying

Grief, Loss & Dying

Grief, Loss & Dying

Bereavement and mourning are functions, not dysfuntions.

There is no such thing as abnormal grief, there is no blueprint. However grieving can be complicated or interrupted.

Loss is never over, it becomes accommodated into life.

Bereaved people become an exaggerated version of who they've always been. This exaggeration decreases as the grieving process unfolds.

Regression is a survival technique, a care eliciting behaviour and a functional vulnerability.

When we feel sad we cry. Tears of grief contain methencephalyn, an opioid. A good cry naturally has us feeling better.

It is always good for the bereaved to have the option to be intimately involved in death and the funeral. It has not been associated with increased or deepened distress.

Informing Others of Death

Sometimes the informant is treated as if they were the perpetrator. Unconscious blame falls on this person. This can have major implications if the informant is also a support person or family member. A good idea may be to hand the job of informant to a Doctor or someone who is not a family member.

Risk Factors for Complicated Grieving

  1. Sudden Death
  2. Death of a child
  3. Trauma witness
  4. How central the deceased is perceived to be to the grievers life
  5. Preventability
  6. Ambivalence
  7. Decreased role diversity - eg child dies, what does mother do? What am I?
  8. Lack of social support
  9. Pre-existing factors
  10. Concurrent crisis - multiple events
  11. Overly prolonged dying - eg lots of remissions and the death may be unexpected in the end, and resources have been used up
  12. Lack of reality - e.g. new medical definitions of death.

Bereavement Counselling

Bereavement counselling is for adjusting to absence. Bereavement counselling is not change oriented, but helps to accommodate the experience into the person's life and allow the feelings to be safely expressed.

Bill of Rights for Grieving

  1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
  2. You have the right to talk about your grief
  3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions
  4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
  5. You have the right to experience grief bursts.
  6. You have the right to make use of ritual.
  7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
  8. You have the right to search for meaning.
  9. You have the right to treasure your memories.
  10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.


For those dying

Fighting death is a paradoxical battle. It is one we must fight and will certainly lose. There is no escape from this predicament, it must be lived.

We tend to deny and squirm and resist the inevitable. This can sap our energy.

A wise relationship to death is simultaneously furious resistance and open acceptance. The ultimate adversary is also the ultimate teacher. It reminds us of our vulnerability.

Dying is participation in and alliance with the natural world. The more we try to separate ourselves from the natural world, the more terrifying and incomprehensible death will appear.

Live your life and experience your death with dignity and open eyes; live and die with noble strength.

For further information you can call Flourish Psychological Services on (02) 4578 3384 or contact us by email: contactus@flourishhealth.com.au