Grief is hard.

The pain of loss is hard.

I wrote most of this a few months ago, but finished it while walking across a grassy field on a sunny day. Hope it helps you if you need it.

There are some instances of grief that are crippling at first but fade over time. Other losses stay equally and painfully strong over a long period of time and actually just create a space to exist; almost a hollow where you can carry that grief and the pain may change over time but it’s still there.

The process of grief is often a concealed, inner ache that is rarely discussed. The theory of the seven stages of grief can be helpful but the reality is often not so simple… These stages are:

  1. Shock and Denial
  2. Pain and Guilt
  3. Anger and Bargaining
  4. Depression, Reflection and Loneliness
  5. The Upward Turn
  6. Reconstruction and Working Through
  7. Acceptance and Hope

The second stage, Pain and Guilt, proves the most difficult in my experience, particularly when someone close dies unexpectedly. Sometimes grief comes without warning, leaving you reeling just when you think your having a really nice day! In my mind, I still see a close friend walking into my office in only full leathers unzipped to the waist. Apparently it was too hot to wear anything else; the receptionist did not know where to look! He died in a motorbike accident in 2004 and is not forgotten, even though he was never on Facebook…

Then after my grandmother died, I kept going to the phone to call her, realising too late that she was no longer there… and a new wave of grief would hit me every time. This still happens five years later.

I wonder whether the Victorian approach to grieving was more honest. They wore black and went into mourning for a year. We seem to expect that grieving people only need support up to the funeral, but that’s not where grief ends, it’s actually where it often begins. Before that you’re just too busy with the arrangements.

Thankfully, there is now a social place to talk about the practical aspects and the recovery from losing someone. At the Death Cafe, the unsaid parts of dying are said. The practical, including how to make a will through to the grieving process are openly discussed. I’ve not been yet, but weirdly, think it’s important to.

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

There are other kinds of grief but these are not spoken of or understood so easily…

The grief of a broken relationship. The grief of a dream or hope that does not reach fruition. The grief of redundancy or even simply the loss of something precious to you, can all be painful to handle. There are some losses you may not ever recover fully from but can still move on from, even if you’re inherently different inside as a result. Just remember that there is help out there if you need it.

The Counselling Directory can help you find someone qualified to talk to. I suggest being selective and choosing someone who suits your needs at the time, as well as your personality.

I also came across some books recently that might help:

  • I am about to read ‘Michael Rosen’s Sad Book‘ (ISBN 9781406317848) written after the loss of his 19 year old son.
  • There is also ‘Badger’s Parting Gifts‘ (ISBN 9781849395144) written to help children who are bereaved, but also helped me to remember the experiences I shared with the person I lost. I’ve read it to my daughter many times.

For people who have just emerged from a broken relationship, Life After the Break training is available from Relate in Oxfordshire. I’m not sure if this is available across the country as yet, apologies.

As yet, I haven’t come across anything that helps specifically with losing a job, but maybe someone else has. Please let me know if you do!

I hope this blog has been helpful whatever your loss. If you are in mourning, please be kind to yourself. It’s not easy.

Love Ruth x

P.S. A friend, I haven’t see her in a long time since time passes so fast, is dying of breast cancer. She currently has a Crowdfunding campaign to help raise money for her imminent wedding… Please donate if you feel you are able to support her and her future husband: I just want her to have the best time she can possibly have! She’s lovely. A great mother and friend ❤️ making a valiant, beautiful choice to seize the day. Carpe diem xxx

Header photo: Photo by Tess Nebula on Unsplash


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