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Grief 'is incredibly individual'

It can take more than two years to deal with bereavement, new research has revealed.

People grieve on average for two years, one month and four days after losing a loved one, but talking through emotions can help people to feel better sooner.

Research by the charity Sue Ryder found that people who did not have any support grieved for an additional eight months, three weeks and five days on average.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Sam Cheverton - assistant director of palliative services at Sue Ryder - said: "You might have an opinion of how you might cope, thinking ahead, but when it happens it is such a devastating thing to happen to lose a loved one that quite often you might react in a way you didn't expect at all.

"Grief is incredibly individual - there's no right or wrong - there isn't really a normal."

She added: "The statistics have shown that over two years a lot of people take a lot longer and a lot of people take a lot quicker, but what it did show was that those who were able to speak to people and get support about their emotions did help them to be able to get through grief a little bit better and to cope with it a bit better."

Emily Urban-Smith, who lost her mother to breast cancer two years ago, said her family support helped her to get through her grief.

"I think in weeks after you have got a lot of family and friends' support and everybody is rallying around you but then as the weeks go by it all kicks in really that they've gone.

"I come from a really tight knit family and without their support I wouldn't have got through it like I did."

She also said she dealt with the grief differently to her brother and father - which the research confirmed was common.

One in four men (24%) said they did not talk about bereavement with anyone compared to one in seven (14%) women.

The survey, which asked 2,053 people about their experiences of grief, also found that a quarter (23.3%) of people suffer in silence - but the grief catches up with them at a later date.

Sue Ryder has now launched an online community to support people through grief anonymously.

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