When someone close to us passes on, we not only lose that person on a physical level, but we also lose the “possibilities” that we could have shared with them. We are often reminded of their absence, and this is especially apparent at certain milestones in life, when we wonder how our lives would have been if that person had survived. At such times, most of us need someone to talk to. Much of this support may come from family and friends. However, it is sometimes more effective if we can speak to people who are not directly involved in the grieving process, and who possess professional bereavement support skills.

Hospis Malaysia’s bereavement support begins right from the final days of the patient’s life because the process of grief and bereavement actually starts before the death of the patient. The physical death of a patient merely makes it a little more real for the family. Once the patient dies, a courtesy call is paid by the palliative care nurse in charge of the patient to offer support if needed. This will be followed by a visit to the patient’s home to offer an independent listening ear, and gradual counselling sessions thereafter to help family members come to terms with the loss. Counselling may not offer immediate remedy, but it may help to develop ways to aid grieving family members cope with the loss. The healing process only starts when grief is expressed.