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A sudden death is an unanticipated death.

While sudden deaths have very different causes, what unites them all is that they are unexpected and consequently unanticipated. The people bereaved by these deaths have no time to prepare for their loss, or say goodbye. Their bereavement consequently comes as a shock.


Examples of sudden death

Sudden Death can include;

• Natural Causes (ie; heart attack, brain haemorrhage, stroke. etc)
• Advanced terminal illness which was not diagnosed (ie; advanced cancer)
• Tragedy (ie drowning, falling, fire or other)

• Transportation disasters (ie; motor vehicle/aircraft fatality or drunk driving)
• Suicide
• Sudden death from a serious illness that was known about, but where death wasn't expected 
• Murder

• War or terrorism



In both sudden death and anticipated death, there is pain. While the grief is not greater in sudden death, the capacity to cope is diminished. Grievers are shocked and stunned by the sudden loss of their loved one. The loss is so disruptive that recovery almost always is complicated. This because the adaptive capacities are so severely assaulted and the ability to cope is critically injured that functioning is seriously impaired. Grievers are overwhelmed.

Sudden death grief

How Can We Help

Losing someone to sudden death can leave you stunned. The road to recovery is complicated and paved with dozens of milestones before any real recovery can begin. Victim Services can support you during this difficult time by;

How we can help
  • connecting you with counselling in your area.

  • assisting you in notifying family and friends.

  • guide you to funeral arrangement supports.

For a complete list of how we can help you in your time of need call your local Victim Services. 

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