From time to time I dedicate a blog to coping with grieving because it is so important and so overwhelming. We grieve in a society that is not very good at supporting us. People still tell me about friends crossing the road because they do not know what to say, and someone recently said a friend actually said “But surely you are more or less over it by now”. This was two months after the bereavement!! So, there is still a lot of educating to do. And all of us can be part of this because we know what worked for us and what didn’t. We need to keep an open mind because everyone’s needs are different - I have had people tell me the exact thing really helped them or that something was not at all what they wanted. They key is to ask what would be helpful and for those of us in the midst of grief to tell people. I want someone to go for a walk with. I want someone to cook me a hot meal. I want to talk about the person who died, or I don’t. We can guide people in how to help us. And sometimes we hardly have the strength to get out of bed.
I was recently in Manchester and stumbled across a pop up shop that was trying to encourage us all to acknowledge and talk about grief. It was selling T shirts, scarves and bags all with words on them such as Make Space for Grief, I’m grieving, Grief is like the weather or Grief = Love. They sold little cards explaining the statements. We have a set of these in the office now. And there were brooches inspired by Victorian mourning jewelry and in the shape of a black armband. I am going to bring some of these along to the Friends and Family day to see what people think about them. In addition, there was a comfy sofa and a listening ear from staff if people wanted to talk about what they were experiencing. I think the idea of creating visible tokens is a good one but I know not everyone would want to wear one. It can say to people you meet that we are in a particular period of our lives and might also provoke a helpful conversation. Wearing a plaster alerts us that someone has broken a leg, these tokens can say my heart has been injured, please have some understanding.
You can find out more by visiting www.thisgriefthing.com and they also referred to www.thegoodgrieftrust.org. which is run for and by bereaved people. And there are many more specialist organisations. We have recently had a number of families whose adult children have died and I strongly recommend the Compassionate Friends for this situation. Again https://www.tcf.org.uk/ is run by people who have been there whose children of any age have died.. And for those who find themselves widowed at a young age there is Widowed and Young run by Cruse which has local gatherings for people facing the particular challenges that can arise in these circumstances. https://www.widowedandyoung.org.uk/ There is Survivors of bereavement by suicide for those faced with a death because someone took their own life https://uksobs.org and there is good provision locally for bereaved children through SeeSaw www.seesaw.org.uk in Oxford, and Wiltshire Treehouse in Swindon www.treehousewiltshire.org.uk and then for prebirth or infant mortality there is SANDS -www.sands.org.uk . And even more locally Age Concern run local meetings of Late Spring contact number Helen on 01235 849434, and there is a group meeting in Shrivenham run by Rose-Anne O’Hare (01793 784017) and Norma Fergusson whose compassionate approach I would also recommend unhesitatingly. And, of course, you can always ring us at the office for a chat or to hear about other organisations or get more details.