Grief Help and Support

Dealing with grief is a challenge like no other. An entire new dimension is added when a death is the result of homicide. outlines the Common Reactions to Grief or Loss:

The stages of grief reflect a variety of reactions that may surface as an individual tries to make sense of how a loss affects him or her. An important part of the healing process is allowing oneself to experience and accept all feelings that are experienced.

The following are some recognised stages of grief: It is extremely important to understand that everyone copes with grief differently, there is not a one-size fits all prescription, and there is no set time for recovery.

  • Denial, numbness, and shock: This stage serves to protect the individual from experiencing the intensity of the loss. It may be useful when the grieving person must take action (for example, making funeral arrangements). Numbness is a normal reaction to an immediate loss and should not be confused with "lack of caring."
  • As the individual slowly acknowledges the impact of the loss, denial and disbelief will diminish.
  • Bargaining: This stage may involve persistent thoughts about what could have been done to prevent the loss. People can become preoccupied about ways that things could have been better. If this stage is not properly resolved, intense feelings of remorse or guilt may interfere with the healing process.
  • Depression: This stage of grief occurs in some people after they realize the true extent of the loss. Signs of depression may include sleep and appetite disturbances, a lack of energy and concentration, and crying spells. A person may feel loneliness, emptiness, isolation, and self-pity.
  • Anger: This reaction usually occurs when an individual feels helpless and powerless. Anger can stem from a feeling of abandonment through a loved one's death. An individual may be angry at a higher power or toward life in general.
  • Acceptance: In time, an individual may be able to come to terms with various feelings and accept the fact that the loss has occurred. Healing can begin once the loss becomes integrated into the individual's set of life experiences.

Remember, throughout a person's lifetime, he or she may return to some of the earlier stages of grief. There are often triggers that can set old feelings in motion very quickly and can catch you off guard. There is no time limit to the grieving process.

Each individual should define his or her own healing process. Talking with a trusted counsellor or confidant is often a great help to understand your own pace of recovery, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.

The Grief Centre suggests these simple tips to help you cope:

  • Try not to avoid your feelings., Facing them and going through the feelings, crying, and talking to friends, family, your doctor and experienced counsellors, can provide relief and help your grief process.
  • Seek support from family and friends. While some people may not be able to give you the support you need, there are always those who can and will
  • Take time out from your regular routine such as your work; preferably as much time as you need
  • Cry when you feel the need. Crying or other ways of allowing yourself to feel your emotions is healing. Sometimes you may want to do this in private and at other times you may want to have someone with you
  • Return to your awareness of your breathing. Taking some deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed can be helpful
  • Make sure you are trying to eat and sleep regularly
  • Keep yourself hydrated with water or other non-alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is a depressant so it’s best to avoid it at times like this
  • Even though you may not feel like it initially, gentle exercise does help. A simple walk can help some of the physical reactions your body is going through. Walking around your garden, the block, the park, is a start. Find a friend to walk with you. Someone who is comfortable talking to you about your loss, the grief and the changes in your life
  • Consider joining a support group. Spending time with people who have had a similar experience may mean that they have some sense of what you are experiencing.



There are a number of groups and organisations that we recommend working with including:

Grief Centre 

Victim Support 

Also call 0800 842 846

Help for grieving families, young people and children

Not Alone
The focus of Not Alone is dealing with grief due to bereavement

Anglican Care Waiapu
Support programmes for children and young people missing some special in their lives

A voluntary, parent-run organisation to support New Zealand parents when a baby or young child has died, with branches around the country

National Association of Loss and Grief (NZ)
promotes education and understanding of loss and grief issues, with branches around the country

Sensible Sentencing Trust
Finding help with justice and court systems.

Receive Taken news updates