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Losing someone close to you can be devastating. If you have been looking after that person, the loss can feel even harder and change a huge part of your life.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and death can be a very different experience for each person. But it’s important to remember you are not alone, and to seek help and reach out if you need it.

Dealing with grief and emotions

There are no set rules to grief and it is not linear. How you might feel is different for everyone and might change day to day, hour to hour. The most important thing to remember is to let yourself feel and grieve the way you want, not as you think you should.

Grief may not even happen straight away. Immediately after a death you may find yourself busy and distracted with the many practical things you have to do. It may only be once all the practicalities are dealt with, and people around you get back to their everyday lives, you find that you begin to grieve.

As a carer, the loss of a loved one may bring different emotions because of the loss of your caring role. Looking after the person who has died might have been something you had been doing for a very long time, and so suddenly being without that role may be hard and strange.

Remember that it is okay to feel a sense of relief, to feel anger or guilt. You may also feel exhausted and alone, as many carers build up relationships with health professionals because of the person they care for, and it can be hard when these relationships come to an end. Whatever you feel, it is okay to feel. There is not one typical response to loss.

The physical effects of loss

Although grieving is different for everyone, we tend to expect losing someone to have an effect on our emotions and mood, but we forget how it can affect us physically as well. After you lose your loved one, you may feel tired and fatigued, have aching muscles or feel a tightness in your joints, have stomach problems or feel nauseous, be unable to sleep or find you are sleeping a lot, and more.

However you’re feeling, it’s important to tune in to your physical symptoms and be kind to yourself. You may find placing lavender under your pillow helps you to sleep, taking a few moments to do some stretching or yoga helps your muscles, or making sure you’re eating healthy meals or snacks gives your body the nourishment it needs.

Remember to book an appointment with your GP and let them know what you are experiencing, both physically and mentally.

Finding help

Often we seek help in those around us, those who know us best. You may find at this time, even those close to you may seem different or ‘awkward’, unsure how to talk to you or what to say. It can be hard for people to know what the ‘right thing’ to say is during times of loss, but if you can reach out to those close to you and let them know what you need, that will help them to comfort you. You may want to talk about your loved one, and reminisce with memories. You may want to talk about their death, or you may not want to talk about them at all. Just talking with someone can be a great source of comfort.

Bereavement Help Points

Carer Support Wiltshire and Dorothy House Hospice Care run regular Bereavement Help Point groups at The Angel in Chippenham, Three Brewers in Corsham and The Bear Hotel in Devizes, which are open for anyone in the community who has been touched by grief to drop in and receive support.

The Bereavement Help Points are informal and supportive spaces that are facilitated by trained volunteers. They are places where people can be with others who are bereaved and talk about their feelings and fears.

All sessions are free and there’s no need to book, you can simply come along. Thanks to Chippenham Borough Lands who funded the running of the Chippenham group.

Chippenham Bereavement Help Point

Second and fourth Wednesday of the month, 10am-12noon.

Venue: The Angel, Market Place, Chippenham, SN15 3HD

Corsham Bereavement Help Point

Second and fourth Thursday of the month, 1:30 – 3:30pm

Venue: Three Brewers, 51 Priory Street, Corsham, SN13 0AS

Devizes Bereavement Help Point

First Tuesday of the month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Venue: The Bear Hotel, 2-3 The Market Place, Devizes, SN10 1HS

Talk to others

  • You can also call us on 0800 181 4118 for advice, information or a friendly voice to talk to.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care offer free face to face sessions, group sessions and telephone support. They also have some great information and resources on bereavement.
  • Talk to your GP about counselling, or find private counselling in your area.
  • Dorothy House also offer bereavement support through a number of ways and has resources on loss and grieving.
  • Carers UK has a forum for carers, with a specific section for those bereaved and no longer caring.
  • Macmillan can support those who have lost a loved one through cancer, and they also have a forum for those dealing with loss.
  • Help is at hand is a resource for people bereaved through suicide or other unexplained death, and for those helping them.

Mental health support

It’s important to reach out for support if you’re feeling low. Remember to talk to your GP about how you’re feeling. Even though grieving is normal after the loss of a loved one, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

  • You can call Samaritans at any time free of charge on 116 123 to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. You can also email them for a 24 hour response.
  • The Silver Line is a free helpline for people 55+ available 24 hours, 365 days a year.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care has a helpline if you want to talk about how you are feeling, or get practical advice.
  • Read our resource page for more mental health information that can help you at this time.

Remember you are not alone. We are here for you.

Call us on 0800 181 4118 (Monday – Thursday 9:30 – 4:30, Fridays 9:30 – 4:00) or email us at admin@carersupportwiltshire.co.uk