Dealing with the Pain of Grief

Do you feel shocked, empty, numb and deeply hurt, angry and resentful toward yourself, the deceased, other people, God, circumstances, or anything else. These feelings are normal and understandable.

These emotions are what we call Grief and dealing with this is a long-term process. It is important to know that Grief takes time and the relationship with the deceased has a significant impact on how long this process takes. The material impact and practicalities that result from losing a loved one also affects how grief is processed.

It is Important to know that grief has various phases that we experience. These are experienced in any order, and we normally move backwards and forwards between them as we process our grief.

The impact of Grief:

  • Shock and often a feeling of numbness.
  • This did not happen, confusion and feelings of being lost and alone.
  • Intense Pain – which reduces over time and then normally comes in waves.
  • Feelings of Guilt – either that we or others are responsible for what happened.
  • Anger and Resentment. Sometimes feeling that we need some level of compensa- tion, restitution, justice or even revenge.
  • Attending to the practical issues that need to be dealt with in terms of life without our loved one. This is normally a very stressful and protracted period by itself.
  • Establishing new life routines and dealing with the practical daily aspects of life.
  • Returning to the new normal that we are in, coping with daily life, like working, interacting with family and dealing with other relationships.
  • Eventually the memory of our loved one brings the good and happy memories and not just the pain of loss.

The ESC(SA) has qualified Pastoral, Grief Support and Counsellors available to assist Free of Charge, online or face to face. Contact for more information and appointments. The following may help you with processing Grief:

The following may help you with processing Grief:

  • Remember that you will move between the various phases as listed above. This is normal and would only need to be dealt with if it negatively impacts on your ability to cope with your daily activities. E.g. work, relationships, or lasts too long.
  • Be aware that everyone experiences grief differently, depending on their relationship with the deceased, their own personality, resilience, age, experience, culture, beliefs etc.
  • Do not withdraw from social relationships. Family, friends, colleagues, Religious Leaders like Pastors etc who all can assist with processing Grief.
  • Speak about the loss of your loved one to others, especially family or close friends. Try to focus on their strengths, sense of humour, what they did to uplift others and especially about the good and fun times that you had
  • Write a letter to God and your loved one expressing exactly how you feel. Also, about those unsaid and unfinished issues, as painful as this may be. Do not keep these letters. Or they will root you in the past and stuck on their passing. It is strongly recom- mended that a candle or other form of fire is used to burn the letters. Pray to the Lord and ask Him to share the letter with the deceased.
  • It can also help to take part in your Church and its activities and try to help others

Dealing with longer-term debilitating Grief:

  • While loss remains with us for years, and it is normal that the pain assails us in waves, it needs to be dealt with when it causes the inability to cope with daily life.
  • If after a couple of months you are not coping and are unable to carry out our daily activities. E.g. Work, Social Interaction etc. then contacting and taking part with the organisations listed below can assist greatly in the processing the loss of a loved one.
  • Speaking to your Doctor, Pastoral Support, Chaplains or Professional Councillors is also strongly recommended.

Some useful contact details:

  • The Emergency Services Chaplaincy (SA) – Online Intervention each Wednesday at 19h00. Contact us at info@localhost or WhatsApp at Tel: 082 329 9973 and we will contact you for appointments. Further information is available at
  • Grief Share –
  • Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit – 24-hour service to anyone requiring emergency intervention in South Africa. Tel: 0861 435 787
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