Finding support after a loved one has passed

After a loved one has passed, the grieving process can affect everyone differently.

Grief and loss are emotions that everyone will likely experience at least once throughout their lifetime, whether it's due to the passing of a family member, partner, friend, pet, or the loss of a job, health or relationship.

The grieving process

Perhaps the most well-known research into grief comes from psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who introduced a model outlining the five stages of grief in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.

The model was originally developed to apply to people suffering a terminal illness, but the concepts have since been expanded to encompass other life events such as the death of a loved one, or an experience of a trauma.
As discussed in the model, human grief is characterised as progressing through five separate states.

1st Stage: Denial

During the denial state, the individual can't believe that what is actually happening is real. This stage is a kind of temporary defence for the person to help them cope with the immediate effects of what has happened, but it can't last forever.

2nd Stage: Anger

The next stage in the process is anger, where the person looks for somewhere to place the blame and may experience feelings of resentment, jealousy, bitterness and rage towards other individuals or even objects.

3rd Stage: Bargaining

Following anger comes the bargaining state, where the individual hopes that they can change the final outcome by giving something up or making a change.

4th Stage: Depression

The person begins to understand their new reality and may start to feel disconnected from the other people in their life.

5th Stage: Acceptance

The final stage in the process is acceptance, when the person starts to accept what has happened and can come to terms with what it means.

Finding support

While the model gives us an outline of what to expect, it's important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently. Ms Kubler-Ross herself stated that people may go through the process in a different order, or only experience one or two stages.

Everyone grieves in their own way, and the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement advises that there is no right or wrong way to do so - which is why it's important for those experiencing a loss to let themselves feel what they feel without trying to force a progression through the five stages.

In Australia, support can be found from a variety of sources. Aside from the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, there is also the Bereavement Care Centre providing counselling and support as well as the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network. In life, we work hard to help our families where we can. But after you are gone, the one thing you can't be there to help with is the experience of grief.

A loss can affect not just our emotions but our finances as well. Your family could be protected from facing financial loss after bereavement, through factors such as insurance protection and having an independent income.

With funeral insurance, you can ensure at least one financial burden is relieved from your family's shoulders after you have passed. You can choose between providing a lump sum benefit for your funeral cover to help your family arrange those end-of-life affairs or cover other costs as needed.

There are different policies available, so you may wish to compare funeral insurance plans to see if you can find one that suits your needs.

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.