Research into bereavement and how it affects people has shown a number of predominant stages the person goes through- firstly numbness, possibly denial, the feeling of deprivation and to a certain extent depression.
Dr. Parkes describes grieving as a thirteen month illness and it is now a considered an illness. The timing of thirteen months is relevant because you have to pass through all the anniversaries in the first twelve months i.e. we were together last Christmas, or we were on holiday together this time last year.
Passing through the stages of grief over the first twelve months allows recovery, the thirteenth month allows many to move on. Of course every person will grieve differently and every relationship had it’s own dynamic. Bereavement cannot be generalised, but the process, if carefully handled, must begin somewhere. The Funeral Ritual, involving (generally) an open coffin, where people come and offer their heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved holds tremendous respect in Irish society. One must deal with the Stages of Grief as they arise, but most essential to healing, is a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on; this is often all that is required, above words.