What is happening to me?

  • anxious girl

When someone dies we often have very strong feelings and strange thoughts. When we first find out that someone has died our bodies can feel different for a while and this can make us worried and frightened. This is what our body does when it has heard bad news and we call it shock. It is normal and happens to everyone at first.

Not everyone feels the same when they are very shocked. People tell us that it can make them feel shaky, hot and cold, dizzy, want to cry or scream. It can make our legs feel like jelly and make our stomach feel as if we have giant butterflies inside. Sometimes we feel sick or get a headache. This is normal and will not last but it can feel scary. ( see below)

Sometimes we just feel numb; this means that we don’t feel very much at all and then we don’t cry but are very quiet and still. This too passes and sometime we cry and feel all of the other things later. It is normal to want to cry or feel angry and confused too.


When we get worried or anxious it can sometimes feel like the shock feelings too. This can also happen each time when we think about the the person who died at first. This is  what happens in our bodies when we are anxious or worried.

Reading about what happens to us and other people when someone has died can help us feel better about how we are feeling. Why not ask the people you live with to help you find some that would suit you on our resources list in the links page?

What is grief like for other people?

When someone dies it can be helpful to know that what is happening to us happens to lots of other people too. Adults will feel like this too.When we first hear that someone has died it is normal to:

  • cry more often, especially when we think or talk about the person who died
  • feel shaky, sick, dizzy and frightened again at times; just like when we first find out that our person had died.
  • find it difficult to understand why they have died
  • feel angry that this has happened and want to know whose fault it is
  • be shocked and worried by how the grown-ups behave. Sometimes this is the first time we have seen them cry or get very upset.
  • worry that you are going to forget them
  • worry that it might have been our fault that they died
  • worry about what is happening now to the person who died
  • worry about what will happen next and how long we will feel like this


It is important to tell someone how you are feeling and what your worries are. Sometimes there are very easy answers that can sort out worries. When we worry and don’t tell them to anyone they get bigger but when we tell someone our worries they get smaller or sometimes disappear just like in ‘The Huge Bag of Worries’ book.


Talking to your Mum or Dad if they live with you, or grandparents, aunts, uncles or even a teacher at school can be a big help. They will know how to help.


If you find it hard to say what is worrying you why not draw a picture of your worry or write a list of worries and questions – this can make it easier to talk.


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