Medline Plus writes that bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a person dies. Part of the normal process of reacting to a loss occurs when you grieve. Grief may be experienced as part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. Grief may be experienced as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. The mental reactions associated with grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions associated with grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems or illness. In an article on Feb. 8, 2013, Science Daily has reported, Support Needed for Children Losing Parent at Early Age.
It has been found in a study exploring the impact of early parental death that long-term damage and suffering can be experienced by individuals in adult life if appropriate levels of support are not provided at the time of bereavement. This new research, which has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, describes the low self-esteem, loneliness, isolation and inability to express feelings of some individuals who lost a parent in childhood. These effects have been found to be felt for as long as 71 years after the bereavement.
The researchers have discovered common themes which affect the experience of parental loss, including disruptions and continuity, the role of social networks and affiliations, and communication. Professor Mari Lloyd Williams, from the University of Liverpool, has said: "Moving home and separation from family and friends makes adjustment to parental death significantly more difficult and increases stress in bereaved children. Long periods of disruption or living arrangements that do not meet the needs of the bereaved child means they are more likely to experience emotional difficulties and feelings of insecurity and loneliness in adult life."
Professor Lloyd Williams has also said, "It is essential that bereavement support consists of far more than counselling that is frequently available and offered to bereaved children. Where possible they should remain in their existing social networks, live in the same area, go to the same school and maintain the same friendships." Williams has added that those
who are working with bereaved families also need to ensure that support which increases stability, continuity and cohesion is introduced at every level of the family system. She has commented, "Our research suggests that if the social network addresses the necessary 'mothering or fathering' then a child does not appear to be affected in adult life."