When a loved one dies, nothing makes sense anymore. Your world and everything in it has changed, your feelings are in chaos and you will never be the same again.
After the death of both my parents, I felt a deep sense of sadness, loss, shock, anger and self-pity. But I am not sure that I could ever imagine what it must be like to bury a child.
The massacre that took place in America recently is a horrendous business especially for the parents left behind.
The loss of a child is the kind of death most feared and agonised over. Parents do not expect to outlive their children. The death of a child cuts off all expectations, future hopes and dreams.
All I can say is that everyone grieves differently. Everyone has the right to deal with their own grief as best they can. There are no right or wrong ways.
Bereavement is about gut-wrenching pain, crying, loneliness and emotional exhaustion. There is nothing that I can say to make the grief of death more palatable. There is no way to dress it up.
How can we help the bereaved?
There is nothing that you can say that will be helpful. The only thing you can do is to listen to their pain, and be there for them. A good listener does not offer advice or make judgements.
Listen to their anguish, listen to their anger, listen to their feelings of loss and accept them as they are. Do not counter their grief with your own experiences, that is not helpful.
The bereaved must not feel isolated or have to apologise for reacting as they do. Explosions of anger and emotional outbursts are normal and need to find an outlet. They should not have to edit their emotions for your sake.
Practical help such as shopping and cooking may be really helpful in the early days of bereavement. But this must be something that they must want you to do. Any help that you give must be given on their terms with love, empathy and respect.
There is no known formula to help their suffering only maybe time, lots of time.
Grief is a long and complicated process and the road to recovery must be at the pace of the bereaved.