What is delayed grief?

Delayed grief is a very real thing. We often find ourselves having to brush off a death of a loved one as we have people depending on us, from being a parent that needs to continue taking care of their children or remaining parent, to being someone who was in an accident where others may have passed away and the focus is on healing your body and not grieving for the loss of a friend, these are some examples of situations where you might be vulnerable to delayed onset grief.

What is delayed grieving?

Delayed grief is when circumstances do not allow for you to take the moment to mourn the death of a loved one right away, there are many reasons for this, some highlighted above. You will however not be able to continue putting it off, as it won’t go away, no matter how you hard you try, to suppress or delay it. You will need to deal with your emotions and the loss of the person, otherwise you might find yourself getting really sick or your emotions manifesting in anger or depression and so tainting your relationships with those still around you.

Most of the time you will find there is a trigger that will unleash an uncontrollable flood of tears, when this happens – Let it. Don’t judge it or label it, just experience it. This is the way your body and mind will release all that pent-up grief and by releasing, it allows you to start putting the pieces together and dealing with the death of that important person who had been part of your life. The longer you leave not dealing with your grief, the more difficult it will be to resolve and work through the pain, when it does come.

Working through the bereavement process

If you find yourself, a friend or loved one being hit by delayed grief, yes, the signs are very visible, and it will feel like the wind being sucked out of their sails, you can help them or yourself by working through the feelings. The best remedy is to talk about how you are feeling and what you are experiencing. If you are private and do not want to talk about it or you have nobody to talk to, then a suggestion is that you create a journal, and use writing to work through it.

You can also visit the grave. This is a powerful way to feel the loss of the loved one and to finally process the pain and begin the healing. Be prepared that should this be a step that you take, that you will be dealing with raw emotions and it is best to find someone to go with you or take you.

There is no time period it takes for a person to deal with the loss of a loved one, but if you take these steps you should start seeing an improvement in your well-being, if this is not the case, it is worth seeking the help of a counsellor, who focuses on helping people work through their grief.

As the saying goes, the only way to get to the other side of grief is to go through it, there is no quick fix or a way to avoid it, that won’t make you sick or despondent, so take the time to grieve as it is an important part of the process of dealing with loss and making sure you come through the other side a ‘whole’ person.