When you have a death in the family, there are so many practical things that need to be dealt with alongside dealing with your grief:
• Getting a medical certificate to enable you to register the death.
• Registering the death within 5 days.
• Arranging the funeral.
• Finding a Will/finding out what to do if there is no Will.
• Getting letters of administration/grant of representation.
• Gathering in the assets of the estate.
• Distributing the assets of the estate.
• Dealing with estate accounts.
• Setting up and managing Trusts.
The list goes on and on....... but what about the other stuff. The stuff that no one talks about.....
Everyone deals with grief in their own unique way. Everyone around you will want to help. Everyone will be full of great ideas and well meaning advice on how you can get through the grief and get over it as quickly as possible. Why? Frankly your grief makes others feel uncomfortable!
It is important to recognise that grief can be crushing. It is okay to have days when you cannot work out how you are going to keep breathing. Grief can be a physical thing that causes tightness in your throat, heaviness across your chest and even pain around your heart. It can give you headaches and stomach upsets, it can muddle your mind, hot flushes, cold chills, it can affect your sleep, make you restless unable to concentrate and the list goes on.
Some people shut down, paste a smile on their face and act like nothing has happened.
All of the above is okay. All of the above or none of the above is fine because everyone grieves differently and there are no right or wrongs.
Many experts say that there are 5 stages of grief:
• Denial – refusal to accept facts, the reality of the situation or information surrounding it. The fact is death is hard to avoid for long.
• Anger – this can be directed at yourself, I could have tried harder, seen them more etc. This can be directed at the person that died and those close around you.
• Bargaining – if I could just have them back even for 5 minutes I will never do this again or I will do that every day.
• Depression – this is when reality sets in and a quiet acceptance begins to come but it can be hard, it can be dark and it can be debilitating. It is however a sign that you have finally started to accept what has happened and after depression comes...
• Acceptance – you can finally accept what happened and now you can begin to recover. Recovery is an individual thing some people bounce back quickly and quietly and resume previous daily activities but some people radically change their life and go on a trip of a lifetime or change their jobs.
How can you help someone dealing with Grief?
The first thing to remember is that it is hard to help someone with their grief. Sometimes you can’t help them and all you can do is be there whilst they go through it.
Something that we all have in these situations is the fear of making things worse.
However, there is one thing that the experts in this field are agreed on. Talk less, listen more. This is skill that most of us find difficult especially in nervous situations. We all have a tendency to babble so being still and listening really is the hardest things to do.
In short, show up, don’t avoid them no matter how awkward it is. Bring food, food always breaks the ice, offer practical help, picking the kids up from school, doing the grocery shop but most importantly ask them how they are feeling and then listen, really listen.
Don’t be judgmental, stay in touch with them, be accessible but not overbearing, don’t use clichés they are just so annoying, ask how the rest of the family are and don’t avoid talking about the person that died as this can be cathartic.
Most all remember saying too little is better than saying too much resist the urge to babble!!!
Spencers Solicitors understand grief and how difficult it can be to deal with. Although we can only empathise when it comes to the non practical stuff, we are here to help ease the burden by supporting and advising you on the necessary practicalities at such a difficult time. Our experienced staff can provide straight forward advice on what needs to be done and assist in all aspects of probate and estate administration. Contact us for a free, no obligation chat on how we might be able to help.
About the Author
Samantha Ibrahim is a Chartered Legal Executive within Spencers Solicitors Private Client Team. Samantha’s main focus is on the provision of Wills and Probate services.
In addition to drafting Wills and providing advice on the administration of estates, Samantha is also able to obtain letters of administration, grant of probate, advanced decisions, lasting power of attorney and Court of Protection Deputyship.