The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was illuminated in yellow tonight.
The lighting up of this and other landmark buildings around the UK, accompanied by a live evening song transmission, was part of events to mark National Grief Awareness Week [pictured above].
The organisation behind it, The Good Grief Trust, wants to talk about grief and grieving in a more open, honest way. The Trust is also developing an online bereavement-support guide.
Psychologists have talked for years about the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Having started working as a funeral celebrant, working with families often at the early stage of their grieving journey, I can readily see how the idea of a smooth, linear progression through the five stages has become outdated.
Grief is, I’ve come to know, individual to each person and each family.
Yet, despite the fact that one person dies every minute in the UK, we still don’t know how to talk about grief, nor how to reach out for support when we need it.
As Trust founder Linda Magistris, says: “Grief is just love with nowhere to go.”
By listening to the family as they talk about their loved one and celebrate the life they lived, it can help them channel that love into the tribute I eventually write and deliver at the ceremony.
The first stage of grief is to simply acknowledge it.
Find a directory of resources at Good Grief Trust – Find Support.
Liked this? Read also: What the songwriter Nick Cave can teach us about grief.