Death, bereavement and loss are natural life events - they happen to all of us. We think we should be able to cope but loss can be frightening and disturbing as well as very painful.

It is not unusual to feel very isolated and alone with your grief even if you have family and friends to support you. Those closest to you can feel helpless or even embarrassed and may try to avoid the painful feelings by keeping quiet or staying away.

At times the intensity of your thoughts and feelings can surprise you when you are dealing with, potentially, some of the most painful feelings you may have ever had – shock, disbelief, panic, anger, guilt, bitterness, hopelessness, abandonment, relief, sadness, despair. These are normal responses and you can experience different feelings at the same time which may leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused by the complexity of your emotions. Loss can be very complicated.

If the death has been sudden or unexpected, your feelings are likely to be even more intense which is also considered a normal response. Equally, a more recent loss can bring back the pain of earlier bereavements or losses you may have experienced in the past.

The experience of loss has a specific meaning to every individual. A great many factors, such as physical and emotional well-being, culture, age, gender, will all contribute to the way in which each person grieves.

It takes time to work through our feelings and we must make time to grieve. Being able to share some of these feelings with a counsellor who can understand and accept them can be a great comfort and relief.

Bereavement counselling aims to help people reach a more peaceful place with their loss and gradually move forward in their lives.