Tag: Good Grief Trust

Bereavement in the new normal: life after Covid for Saga Magazine

There is no new normal post Covid.

Every one of us is, after all, grieving to some degree.

That’s the idea behind my first feature for Saga Magazine, an article I have been working on this past week.

My article explores, through case studies and expert comment, the loss we have all experienced during the pandemic and how we, both collectively and individually, can hope to move forward.

Psychologists talk about the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

But for one of my case study interviewees, Kerry, whose husband died last November, the whole experience has been an emotional rollercoaster, not a linear route.

“Sometimes at night, sleeping on his side in an empty bed, I call out to him. ‘Jeremy, where are you? Where are you?’ When there’s no response, I feel so alone.”

Kerry started keeping a diary as a means to express her grief, a key element of finding a path through the darkness.

“I started writing a journal to record the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve been through. It’s my substitute for counselling,” she says.

Amongst the expert interviewees for the feature is Julia Samuel, the pyschotherapist and author whose book Grief Works I read and admired. She told me:

“The only thing we can be certain of in life is change. We have to grow with the change. When we try to suppress it, we do not thrive.”

Julia explained how, for every death, at least eight people are affected, often many more.

With the UK death total from the pandemic currently nudging 140,000, a lot of people have been touched by tragedy in the past year.

How do they – we – all find a new normal?

“When grieving, it’s like having less layers of skin, so you feel raw,” said Julia. “My advice is to intentionally do things to soothe yourself.”

Read the full feature in the June issue of Saga Magazine — subscribe here.

I’m available for civil celebrant ceremonies in the Northwest region.

Liked this? Read also: Why 1,546 is more than a number – it’s a true national tragedy.

How to #SHAREYOURSTORY for National Grief Awareness Week

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.