However prepared one might be for the death of a loved one, the sheerÂ intensity of the emotions and reactions to the death can be overwhelming.
It can be confusing to feel angry and unable to concentrate – though theseÂ are very common manifestations of bereavement – and the fact of talking toÂ someone about oneâ€™s feelings, whether it is to friends or trained counsellors,Â can be of great comfort and assistance in this process.
The most obvious forms of help come from friends and family, but assistanceÂ is also available via the GP, clergy, and from professional and volunteerÂ bereavement counsellors. Often families and friends experience discomfortÂ at talking about the deceased and fear the efect that talking about them willÂ have on the bereaved person, when often this is what they want. A counsellorÂ can facilitate discussion and open the way for the bereaved to verbalise theÂ numerous and conflicting emotions brought about by their loss.
Much has been written about â€˜stages of griefâ€™, but these stages should beÂ seen as a broad guide only. They can be affected by such things as theÂ manner of death and the ages of the deceased and the survivor.
Loneliness and problems associated with the tasks of daily living are commonÂ and difficult adjustments for the bereaved. The extent of their dependenceÂ on the deceased can also affect the severity of the bereavementas can theÂ nature of the death. Aboce all, there is no timetable for grieving; each personÂ has to do it at their own pace.
Anyone supporting someone who is recently bereaved needs to be awareÂ that death often engenders ambivalent feelings. Disbelief is often a featureÂ and the ramifications of loss can take a long time to filter through.
Common features of bereavement also include: denial; struggling to adapt toÂ the new reality; shock; anger with the person who died; self-reproach; goingÂ over and over events leading to the illness and the death; being weighedÂ down with guiltor being overwrought by the feeling of unfinished businessÂ or things unsaid. It is not uncommon for the bereaved to isolate themselves,Â and friends and relatives may therefore need to be able to talk when theyÂ need to.
When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to beÂ made and unfortunately these often have to be made at a time of personalÂ distress.
Practical advice and support may be provided by friends, family, doctor,Â nurse, solicitor, minister of religion or anyone involved with you or the personÂ who has died. The Funeral Director can also explain about arrangementsÂ that have to be made. The Bereavement Advice Centre also provides access to forms and information.
There are a few steps that need to be taken shortly after the death. In manyÂ cases the hospital or GP involved will help you with these early steps:
If you are married or in a registered civil partnership and your partnerÂ dies, you may be able to get extra financial help. This is called a bereavement support payment.
The new form to claim Bereavement Support Payment can be found here.
Funerals are expensive and it is always advisable to ascertain whether theÂ deceased has already made financial arrangements for their funeral. TheyÂ may have a pre-paid funeral plan in place or cremations society certificate.
Some occupational pension schemes also pay a lump sum to help withÂ funeral costs and trade unions, professional bodies and associations pay a Â sum on the death of a member – ll are worth checking.
If you are on a low income and you need help to pay for a funeral you areÂ arranging, you might be able to get a funeral payment.
You might have to repay some or all of the cost from the estate of the personÂ who died. To find out if you are eligible and to request form SF200 contactÂ your local JobCentre Plus.
You can arrange for the local post office to redirect the post of someone whoÂ has died. The post office may insist on having proof that you have got theÂ legal authority to do this. It may help if you can provide a death certificateÂ and a written statement saying that you have a right to act on the personâ€™sÂ behalf. You will have to pay a fee for redirection of post.
You can also stop junk mail being sent to someone who has died. To doÂ this, you can register details of the death with the Bereavement Register.
Companies who check the Bereavement Register will remove details of theÂ person who has died from mailing lists and marketing databases. However,Â this will not stop junk mail being sent from companies who do not check theÂ register.
A death must be registered within 5 working days (unless the registrar saysÂ this period may be exceeded). If a death has been referred to a coroner,Â it cannot be registered until the registrar has received authority from theÂ coroner. If the person died at home their GP will certify the cause of deathÂ and give you a Medical Certificate and Formal Notice telling you how toÂ register the death.
If the person died in hospital, the hospital will issue the certificate. When youÂ go to the registrar you should take the Medical Certificate, Birth and MarriageÂ Certificates and the medical card of the deceased if possible.
The Registrar will give you a form for the Funeral Director (unless the coronerÂ is involved) and a form for the Department of Social Security so that pensions,Â allowances, benefits can be stopped or changed as appropriate. There is aÂ charge for each copy of the death certificate you may need.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45