Our Blog

Grief following sudden or unexpected death

A sudden, unexpected death can raise some complex issues for the bereaved person. A sudden death can catch people out and test what resources they have for coping.

What Is Meant By Sudden And Unexpected Death?

A sudden or unexpected death can occur through a medical event such as a fatal heart problem (such as arrhythmias or acute myocardial infarction); a blood clot in the lung (a massive pulmonary embolism) a stroke (intracranial haemorrhage/cerebrovascular accident) or an acute aortic aneurysm.

Other causes of sudden death might be through suicide or trauma such as car, work, or sporting accidents, natural disasters or violent attacks. With the increase in world-wide terror  attacks, survivors are challenged to deal with a wide range of emotions, which may be intensified due to the randomness and violence.

In some cases where someone has been terminally ill and receiving long term care, their death may still occur in a way that seems sudden and unexpected to their carers:

  • a person who was expected to take many months to die may seem to die a death that is sudden. Perhaps they were expected to get worse gradually but they stay fairly well and then die in a brief space of time. This can seem sudden when people are expecting a different experience
  • perhaps the person dies in a few weeks when they were expected to live for months. If some people did not know the person was ill, they may think of the death as sudden or unexpected because they had no idea it was likely to happen
  • a death which takes several hours or days may also be called sudden, or seem sudden, to some of those involved. Others who are close to such deaths may not consider them sudden at all, particularly if the person was suffering

In whatever way the death occurs, a sudden or unexpected death adds extra dimensions of grief to the people bereaved from it.

Grief Reactions

Most people have feelings of shock and confusion as the result of the death of someone close to them, but these feelings can be intensified due to the suddenness of the death.

Everything changes in a split second, which challenges people’s emotional worlds.

The person may have died either alone, or in the presence of a loved one. Each carries with it its own emotional challenges:

  • where the bereaved person was not present when a loved one dies suddenly or unexpectedly, a significant emotional challenge is a sense of guilt
  • the bereaved person can feel cheated out of the natural expectation of being with their loved one at the moment of death
  • if the bereaved person was with the loved one who died, it might have been a very traumatic experience, trying to offer first aid and to know who to contact for help. Images of pain, struggle, and fear might be uppermost in the bereaved person’s memory

Dealing With The Impact Of Traumatic Death

Any sort of sudden and/or traumatic death or a death by suicide presents significant difficulties to the emotional, physical, and spiritual resources of the bereaved person.

In the case where the bereaved person was a witness to the death of their loved one(s), it may be important for the person to be able to tell the story of the event in detail. This may be done with a professional person—psychologist or counselor or with a sympathetic friend, or friends. It may be important not to gloss over the details of the event, particularly if they are uppermost in the bereaved person’s mind and emotional world; they may take time to deal with. It may be that the bereaved person will need to go over and over the event, trying to understand what they saw, time sequences, the cause of the death, where it occurred, who  was present, who helped.

An added burden to such deaths can be the activity of the media, which is often very intrusive, making it impossible to find private time and space to deal with the  emotional impact of what was the death of a loved one.

Police and the coroner may also be involved, and it can be very  easy for a bereaved person to lose a sense of connection with the person who has died, who might now have become the subject of a major inquiry.

Often people part in the morning, and never see their loved ones alive at the end of the day. Their world changes in those few short hours, and they are not prepared for the range of huge adjustments which they need, and are expected, to make.

What Helps?

What is important in dealing with sudden/unexpected death is the ability to feel and express grief which is the normal response to loss of any kind. It takes time and patience to find a way to make sense of the event itself, and its impact.

The bereaved person needs time to be able to express their intense grief and pain, and they need to be given time by those around them: family, friends, communities, and professional services.

The bereaved person and their family and friends need to recognise that emotional adjustment to a sudden/unexpected loss is not a short process.

Losing someone suddenly through suicide will raise even more challenges for those left behind.

Other Resources

Lifeline
Victim Support Service
Beyond Blue
Road Trauma Support Team of SA

 

Page last updated: 17 September, 2019

comments (119)

  1. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my site :).

  2. Enjoyed looking at this, very good stuff, thankyou. “All of our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.” by Walt Disney.

  3. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and great design.

  4. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful information being shared freely out there.

  5. I just could not leave your site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the usual information a person provide for your guests? Is going to be back continuously to investigate cross-check new posts.

  6. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you¦ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What a great web-site.

  7. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your site in internet explorer, might check this… IE still is the marketplace chief and a huge portion of other people will pass over your wonderful writing due to this problem.

  8. Great paintings! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this publish higher! Come on over and consult with my web site . Thanks =)

  9. certainly like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth then again I will surely come back again.

  10. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you?¦ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What an ideal site.

  11. I believe this internet site contains some really superb information for everyone. “Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils but present evils triumph over it.” by La Rochefoucauld.

  12. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

  13. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  14. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your site in web explorer, may test thisK IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a big component of other folks will leave out your wonderful writing because of this problem.

  15. It¦s in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I¦m glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  17. I used to be very pleased to find this internet-site.I wished to thanks for your time for this glorious read!! I undoubtedly enjoying every little little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.

  18. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  19. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Kudos

  20. It is really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  22. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100 sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  23. Can I simply say what a relief to seek out somebody who actually is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know the best way to deliver a problem to mild and make it important. More people must read this and understand this facet of the story. I cant believe youre not more fashionable since you positively have the gift.

  24. Hi! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

  25. Great amazing things here. I am very glad to see your post. Thank you a lot and i’m looking ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  26. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for putting up. “We seldom attribute common sense except to those who agree with us.” by La Rochefoucauld.

  27. Thanks for another magnificent article. The place else may anybody get that type of information in such an ideal approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such info.

  28. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  29. This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  30. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  31. What i don’t understood is in truth how you are now not actually a lot more smartly-liked than you may be right now. You are very intelligent. You realize thus significantly on the subject of this topic, made me for my part believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be interested until it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

  32. It?¦s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I?¦m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Hello.This article was extremely remarkable, especially because I was investigating for thoughts on this issue last Monday.

  34. Wow, marvelous weblog layout! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The overall glance of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  35. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  36. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website 🙂

  37. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have bear in mind your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have obtained right here, really like what you are saying and the way in which in which you assert it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous website.

  38. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very spectacular opportunity to discover important secrets from this site. It really is very pleasing and jam-packed with a great time for me and my office friends to search your website at minimum three times in 7 days to read the latest issues you will have. And definitely, I’m also at all times impressed with your effective concepts you serve. Selected 1 ideas in this posting are undoubtedly the simplest we have ever had.

  39. Genny Shovo

    This is a bleeding captivating post. Thwart my position [url=http://mambojambo.com]mambo jambo[/url]

  40. I’ve learn some excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you place to make any such great informative website.

  41. I?¦ll right away clutch your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me recognize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  42. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  43. After all, what a great site and informative posts, I will upload inbound link – bookmark this web site? Regards, Reader.

  44. Hi there, I found your web site by way of Google whilst looking for a similar matter, your web site came up, it seems good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  45. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  46. Can I simply say what a aid to find somebody who really knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know how to carry a problem to gentle and make it important. More individuals have to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant consider youre no more in style because you definitely have the gift.

  47. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to swap solutions with others, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  48. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  49. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “go back the favor”.I am trying to to find issues to improve my website!I suppose its good enough to make use of some of your concepts!!

  50. Together with the whole thing which seems to be building within this specific subject material, a significant percentage of perspectives are fairly exciting. However, I beg your pardon, but I can not subscribe to your entire strategy, all be it radical none the less. It would seem to everybody that your comments are not entirely justified and in fact you are yourself not really entirely confident of the assertion. In any event I did enjoy looking at it.

  51. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  52. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I’d never understand. It seems too complex and very large for me. I’m taking a look forward in your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

  53. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

  54. Magnificent web site. A lot of helpful information here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your effort!

  55. I have recently started a site, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  56. You could certainly see your skills within the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  57. Absolutely pent content material, thanks for information. “In the fight between you and the world, back the world.” by Frank Zappa.

  58. Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all important infos. I’d like to see extra posts like this.

  59. A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If possible, as you change into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra particulars? It’s extremely helpful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog post!

  60. The subsequent time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to learn, however I really thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can repair in case you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  61. you’re in reality a excellent webmaster. The website loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a excellent activity on this subject!

  62. I don’t ordinarily comment but I gotta tell thanks for the post on this one : D.

  63. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  64. magnificent publish, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  65. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *