Generally speaking we will all have to undergo a grief reaction from the loss of a loved one. Bereavement is an inevitability as we progress to our latter years. I discuss bereavement here because, beyond all other ailments that we contend with as we age, the loss of our loved ones and friends is a deep pain that is unresponsive to medicine.

The grief associated with the death of those close to us generally follows a typical pattern. We all suffer the emotions and feelings of denial, anger, compromise, depression and acceptance.

The length of time that we go through each of these emotions varies depending on the circumstances. Denial is usually short-lived, perhaps no more than a few days, whereas anger either towards those who the individual feels are to blame for the death or self-guilt because the individual did not do enough to prevent the death, can last for years. The depression may be mild and short-lived or deeply ingrained and persistent. Suicidal thoughts and possibly even attempts may occur.

Everyone will have their own way of dealing with bereavement but most people will have memories and reactions that can recur possibly for the rest of their lives. The so-called ‘anniversary reaction’ is a sense of emotion that occurs on or around the anniversary of the death .


Turn to friends and family. There is no shame in venting emotions.

If close support is not available or not helping, then consult your GP or complementary therapist and have a session with a bereavement counsellor. It may be necessary to attend for a few sessions.

Immediately on hearing bad news, use the remedy Arnica 200, one dose every 4hr. If a sense of fear or ‘what is going to happen to me now’ is the initial reaction, use Aconite 200 at the same dosage. Once the initial shock has subsided use Ignatia 200, one dose on waking and one dose on retiring. If physical symptoms manifest, such as skin rashes, indigestion and flu-like symptoms then use Natrum muriaticum 200, one dose three times a day for one week.

The Bach flower remedies can be used to great benefit: Elm and Larch for those who do not know what to do; Pine if guilt is the overwhelming emotion; Sweet chestnut and Star of Bethlehem if desolation and suppressed emotions are present.

Physical body work such as massage using selected aromatherapy oils can be most beneficial.