“Bereavement is something we have all faced and unfortunately will face in the future.
It is the time we spend adjusting to loss.”
What follows is an account sent to us by a Pilot who wanted to share their own experiences and how they dealt with the situation. They make no claims about their experience other than hoping it may be of interest and possible help to other pilots. We are tremendously grateful to them.
Bereavement is something we have all faced and unfortunately will face in the future.
It is the time we spend adjusting to loss.
Not everyone deals with grief in the same way but we are likely to experience a number of intense physical and emotional reactions. Some people are outwardly emotional and others may deal with it internally and may not cry. Feelings of anger or complete numbness may occur in some people.
There is no right or wrong way to feel when faced with bereavement. There is also no timetable that these feelings should follow. Grieving is an ongoing process that knows no time limit.
It’s important that we do not judge how a person experiences their grief as everyone is different. Grief is normal but can develop into something more serious such as depression.
Company policies and support
The company policies on stress management and fitness recognise that bereavement is a stressful situation. It also recognises that performance at work may be adversely affected. I believe it is correct to assume a pilot will not be fit to fly after receiving the news of a loved one passing. As employees we must inform our manager if we are not fit to fly and that manager has a duty of care to provide support.
There are a number of organisations around the UK that offer information, advice and support to people who are bereaved such as Cruse and National Association of Bereavement Services. GPs or bereavement counsellors can help if you feel you're not coping. Some people also get support from a religious minister. If relevant, hospices usually have counsellors also.
Pilot experience - Bereavement