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Through the Journey of Grief

Station 1
Station 2
Station 3
Further Informations
Support Services

This advice was produced by:
Community Gold Standards Framework Group
Paisley & Renfrew


There is no easy way through the coming days, weeks and months. The loss of the special person in your life brings changes and struggles that may, at times, seem too difficult to cope with.

The information given here explains and looks at some of the thoughts, feelings and behviour that you may experience over the coming days, weeks or months.

When someone dies, the journey we take in grieving does not start at one point and arrive at a destination. It is more like moving between stations, backwards or forwards, that we will with time visit less and less. We will look at each of the stations and how you might be feeling, thinking or behaving.

Station 1 - Cannot Believe the Person is Dead

No matter how that special person in your life dies - whether illness, accident, or sudden death - you may still experience the disbelief that they have died.

At this time, there are many things that need to be attended to: contacting friends and family, dealing with funeral arrangements, and so on. As with all the stations you will arrive at on your journey, you may experience the following:

Thoughts like:

  • They will be back - this is not really happening
  • No one can understand me at this time
  • I must be strong for those around me
  • Wondering about how you "should be" at this time
  • Worried about the future

Feelings of:

  • Numbness - like life is going on around you, but you are more an observer than taking part in life
  • Being lost and alone
  • Relieved - as you become more aware of exhaustion after a long period of caring

Behavious like:

  • Crying, or not being able to cry
  • Not sleeping
  • Confused over the many demands on you at the time
  • Passiveness - allowing others to take control
  • Withdrawing from those around you

What is important is that you take the time you need to prepare for the funeral. You may have discussed what your special person wants the funeral to be. perhaps you have a favourite peice of music or a poem that can express what you want to say but are unable.

Take time to share your feelings and thoughts with those around you at this time.

Station 2 - Recognising That Life Has Changed

The special person who was in your life is not coming back and you will not see them again. being at this station comes through time and brings many different thoughts, feelings and behaviours along with some from the previous station.

Thoughts like:

  • Could I have done something different?
  • If only...
  • Why didn't I...?

Feelings of:

  • Deep sadness - this can be felt as a physical pain that hits you like a tidal wave when you least expect it
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Helplessness
  • Pining - for how life was, and for your special person
  • Tiredness - grief takes energy
  • Anger
  • Sensing the presence of the person who died

Behaviour that can cause:

  • Social withdrawl
  • Forgetfulness
  • Not taking care of yourself (eg not eating)
  • Confusion
  • Crying for long periods

This station is in some ways the most difficult place to be. The realisation that life has changed and the depth of your grief can at times feel too much.

It is really important tha you take 'time out' for yourself, eg go for a walk, ask friend or family to spend time with you, try and do small things that you used to do.

Many people feel that the pain will never ease. While the pain and sadness nver completely go, it does change through time. Do not expect too much of yourself too quickly.

Physical Effects

The thought, feelings and behaviours you may experience can have a physical effect on your body. Some of these are:

  • Hollowness in the stomach
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tightness in the throat
  • over-sensitivity to noise
  • Breathlessness
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry mouth

Again, these physical effects are only a guide and you may find yourself experiencing other effects.

Station 3 - Learning to Live With The Changes

This station can take time to visit. Changes and adjustments to living without your special person take time and take on a new meaning.

  • You will recognise that there may be responsibilities you now have and perhaps need to ask for support from others
  • Remembering your special person and smiling when remembering special times
  • Re-adjusting your life and being more social; returning to living with the change

Sometimes we may feel guilty at this time, as you start to enjoy life in a different way. This may be about having the confidence to recognise that you can continue to live and make decisions that were perhaps once shared.

Further Information

These stations may be visited many times over the weeks and months ahead. We are all unique human beings and no two people's grief will be the same.

This information is not exhaustive and you may experience thoughts and feelings we may not have covered.

While at times you will feel alone in your grief, you do not need to go through this journey alone - there are people who can support you.

Talk to your family and friends - they really do want to support you but cannot if you do not share with them. Holding on to your thoughts and feelings can cause you to become ill. Allow others to help you through your journey.

One questions that is often asked is "how long will I feel like this?". There is no easy answer - grief takes time and everyone is different. Do not be unreaslistic with yourself, and do not set time frames.

The first year can be especially difficult, as you will have to deal with the first birthday, Christmas, anniversary, family occassions and many other firsts without your special person. Again, at these times it is important that you share how you are feeling and get the support you need.

Support Services

Sometimes it may be helpful to talk with someone outside of your family. The following services ae available:

CRUSE - Bereavement Care
Phone: 0173 844 4718

The Wynd Centre, Paisley - Counselling Service
Phone: 0141 887 4647

Crisis Ltd - Counselling Service
Phone (Erskine): 0141 812 8474
Phone (Paisley): 0141 887 2858

Renfrewshire Carers Centre, Paisley - Counselling Service
Phone: 0141 887 3643

Please do not hesitate to contact your GP or one of the services mentioned here should you want to talk about or need help with anything.