Grief is a wound that needs attention in order to heal . To work through and complete grief means to face our feelings openly and honestly, to express and release our feelings fully and to tolerate and accept our feelings for however long it takes for the wounds to heal. We fear that once acknowledged grief will bowl s over. The truth is that grief experienced does dissolve. Grief unexpressed is grief that lasts indefinitely.
In the case of a sudden death, the survivors may often experience wild and unfamiliar feelings of anger at what they see as the cause of the death. Help them express that anger, because if it is held inside, sooner or later it will plunge them into a chronic depression. Help them to let go of the anger and uncover the depths of pain that hide behind it. Then they can begin the painful but ultimately healing task of letting go.
It happens often too that someone is left after the death of a loved one feeling intense guilt, obsessively reviewing mistakes in the past relationship, or torturing themselves about what they might have done to prevent the death. Help them to talk about their feelings of guilt, however irrational and crazy they may seem. Slowly these feelings will diminish, and they will come to forgive themselves and go on with their lives.