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the effects of bereavement, trauma and grief

(25 Posts)
Bidisha Tue 30-Aug-11 22:14:28

Hello, I wanted to post up an article I have written about the stages of grief following a traumatic event. It was prompted by a long conversation with two very old friends, one of whom has recently been bereaved. We decided that the five standard stages of grief aren't enough and that there are finer distinctions, both of suffering and recovery, that we wanted to break down. My friend has recently lost her mother to cancer - she was treated in hospital only briefly after the diagnosis and the whole thing was extremely sudden - and we would be grateful to anyone who can to share their experiences and feelings about this. The article is here:

MitchiestInge Tue 30-Aug-11 22:20:26

ahhh it's you again

will it stop being exciting to see you here?

madmouse Tue 30-Aug-11 22:30:21

oh wow that sounds like rocket science. There are finer distinctions? Who would have thought biscuit

Needless to say having experienced more trauma and grief than I would wish on the devil himself I don't recognise one iota of what you write.

Pancakeflipper Tue 30-Aug-11 22:33:54

Do you really want me to read a thousand stages of grief?

I'd rather not count in case I get to 999 and then find out that even after that I am still grieving and finding more stages.

MitchiestInge Tue 30-Aug-11 22:38:34

It's ok, only the first 17 are there.

Pancakeflipper Tue 30-Aug-11 22:39:53

Oh.... is everything then alright after 17? Or is the 18th so hard hitting it's best we don't know about it in advance?

MitchiestInge Tue 30-Aug-11 22:40:50

why are you being so horrible?

Pancakeflipper Tue 30-Aug-11 22:44:28

I am sorry if you think I am being horrible. I don't mean to be. I am struggling to taken in that grief can put into neat little sections. I shall hop off now as I don;t wish to be seen as horrible and apologies to any offense caused. I am obviously tetchy about grief tonight.

madmouse Tue 30-Aug-11 23:06:08

well I guess it means I'm horrible too - but I find the arrogance and ignorance of the post breath taking.

MitchiestInge Tue 30-Aug-11 23:12:34

ignorant? how can it be? she's talking about her own experiences

Henrythehappyhelicopter Tue 30-Aug-11 23:20:15



unbearable pain, you think it might kill you and would be glad if it did.


Obsession, with the reasons, the details, the if onlys.

Depression when the drama is over and you realise it is for ever.

Going through the motions, just letting time pass.

The realisation one day that you are enoying life between the journeys in your head back to that day. That you can cope. Life will never be perfect but you can survive and even be happy again.

That is my experience but I am sure everyone feels differently.

Bidisha Wed 31-Aug-11 11:28:49

Hello and thank you, Henry the happy, for your message. I should point out that in my article there aren't 1,000 stages - it was a joke my friends and I were making when we discussed what the experience was like. I should also say that the article makes it clear, as Henry the happy indicates, that there are turning points when one turns back towards life again.

One friend had been bereaved of a parent when she was in the first year of university more than 11 years ago, and spoke about how she felt the loss in specific moments, such as at her wedding, in the subsequent years. She also expressed how much she owed the parent and wanted to do them proud to repay the faith and pride they had had in her - so it positively affected her activities and work in the world. The other friend has been very recently bereaved and is looking for all the reading matter, anecdotes from other members of 'the club' and personal testimonies she can find, as a way of getting through it. We felt that trying to describe exactly what we were feeling gave us some measure of understanding, rather than being lost in a long period of simply feeling dreadful.

I had hoped that this thread would be candid, supportive and helpful to her and was going to send her the link to it.

NanaNina Wed 31-Aug-11 18:54:11

I was curious as to why people were "being horrible" as one poster put it, and it seems you are well known on the threads. I clicked on your link but to be honest found the text very weighty and it didn't "speak to me" as they say. I felt drowned in a sea of words. However I did find your list of authors very interesting and found some that I knew and will now be able to buy their books, so thanks for that.

madmouse Wed 31-Aug-11 18:58:13

'I had hoped that this thread would be candid, supportive and helpful to her and was going to send her the link to it.'

If you need a candid supportive and helpful thread for your friend maybe the post should have been about/for her and not a promotion for your blog.

NanaNina Wed 31-Aug-11 19:15:48

Oh madmouse you always tell it like it is. Not my business I know but shouldn't you be relaxing on the sofa after your rather harrowing day, or is this relaxing for you. It isn't exactly relaxing for me but I do get a bit addicted, even on days like today when I'm feeling pretty crap and hoping for a respite this evening.

Hassled Wed 31-Aug-11 19:23:36

The grim reality is that grief is different for everyone and so everyone needs to find their own strength to deal with it. Get the support and help you can, sure, but ultimately you're on your own. And you can go through a million bloody stages but still feel hit by a ton of bricks with the grief one day, out of nowhere.

I lost my mother when I was 16 after a long and horrible battle with cancer. So I was prepared, but too young to really be prepared. At this stage I miss having a mother more than I miss her, IYSWIM. My father died very suddenly when I was in my 30s. I can't begin to summarise into handy snapshots what either experience has been like - all I can tell you is that while the grief doesn't go away, your ability to manage the grief gets better. It just becomes part of your baggage, and it doesn't stop you being happy again.

Bidisha Wed 31-Aug-11 19:30:36

Dear madmouse,

Hello and many thanks for your message. I started this thread and wrote the article with the blessing of the friends with whom I discussed the issue. Understandably, they do not want any more details about them than I have already mentioned floating about the Internet, but we wanted the results of our conversation to be public, hence the blog post. This is because the recently bereaved friend had said that in the immediate aftermath of what happened, she found herself googling words like "grief" and "bereavement", as she so sorely wished to hear the interpretations of other people who were going through the same thing. We felt that, although traumatic events have many and varied results, there might be certain common feelings and reactions that would enable sufferers to know that they were not going through something alone, and indeed that there might be many people going through it, who wanted to communicate some of what they were feeling.

BoisJacques Wed 31-Aug-11 19:34:17

Marking this, intresting. I have found though 2 years is 5 or 10. Will read more later.

madmouse Wed 31-Aug-11 20:09:27

ok then, my reality is that steps are an overrated concept, it can be one thing one day and another one the next - anger and acceptance and denial in particular can be going on pretty much at the same time.

orangeflutie Wed 31-Aug-11 20:39:29

Your emotions are definitely all over the place when you are grieving. There are supposed to be different stages but they're still experienced differently by each person. It is a very personal process. I believe my DH has been stuck in the anger stage for years. I myself struggled a long time with feelings of guilt.

At the time when I was particularly struggling with the 'if onlys' our lovely vicar told DH and me that the 'if onlys' are like cul-de-sacs in that they lead nowhere and you have to go back up them. I thought this was a very good way of trying to help us make some sense of things.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 31-Aug-11 20:46:02

I will have a look.

Personally I could smack the person who first came up with the 7 stages of grief. It seems to have given anybody who feels like it permission to cut and paste them on bereavement threads.

On another forum a mum was pouring out her heart about her little lad, lost in an accident and another member just plonked the fucking thing down on the thread.


I dont get it myself. Grief is not linear or logical. It ebbs and flows and lasts a lifetime. Its like the sea - even when it appears calm there are a million tiny ripples at work and everyso often a fecking huge tsunami engulfs you and leaves destruction in its wake.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 31-Aug-11 20:49:11

I was interested to see that 'realisation' was at number one.

I wouldnt put it there TBH. For me that realisation came waaaay down the line.

I mean, I knew she was dead. She died in my arms. But what that really means is still hitting me five years later.

orangeflutie Thu 01-Sep-11 14:35:50

thefirstMrsDeVere Your post is so true. I try to think that my ds is somewhere better than here. It's all I can do but it is so very hard to accept.

Thinking of you xx

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 01-Sep-11 15:14:39

And you x

flimflammery Thu 01-Sep-11 15:36:07

OP: I read your article. I like that it is strikingly candid, I like that you are encouraging people to talk about grief. But I think you should replace 'You' with 'I' throughout. You are talking about your experience, and that of your friends. Other people experience grief differently.

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