Most often when death occurs there is a fair bit of support; medical and professional staff from the health care system, expert staff from the funeral home, and perhaps hospice or therapy if needed. There is usually strong support from friends, family members and co-workers too. Everyone is focused on the tasks at hand and generally speaking very supportive.
As time passes and the funeral ceremony is complete the level of support starts to naturally dwindle. Obviously the help from the health care system winds down, professional support from the funeral home or crematorium ends. The support from friends and family slowly diminishes as everyone gets back to their own lives.
In a matter of days, more often weeks, the beehive of activity subsides and things including you are expected to get back to normal. All of a sudden it seems you may feel like you are on your own, and in many cases you can be. Friends at work may not know what to say to you and may hang back because they don’t want to upset you. Neighbors may get back to life as it was before the death. Many people may be done with their grief process, though you may not be. You could feel alone in your post funeral slump.
Although this is not intentional, it often is quite a predictable path. Knowing this and not taking it personally you can expect this lull in contact, support and attention. In order to prepare for this change make plans for you and your family to spend quality family time together. Help you children plan sleepovers and outings. Plan enjoyable events and gatherings for yourself too! These plans are not to distract you from your natural grief process, more to bring a better balance back in to your life.
If you are living alone it can be a real shock to go from close quarters and lots of contact with others to being on your own. It can be easy to slip into a lonely life and a form of depression. Be sure to set up ‘dates’ with friends, co-workers and family. You could join a social group or exercise club.
Again, this strategy is not to avoid healthy alone time when you can grieve on your own, it is to make sure you have good balance in your life. Too much contact can be overwhelming and too much alone time can be avoidance. If you have a tendency to be a bit of a lone wolf, it might be a good idea to ask your close friends to help you create a well-balanced social calendar for a month or two after the death.
Either way, living in a family setting or alone, it is important to expect the post funeral slump in attention and support and also in your mental state. This awareness and some good planning will help you regain important balance in your changed life.