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A letter to a person who needs it right now…

1 December 2020

As we mark the start of Grief Awareness Week, Bereavement Counsellor, Beth, has penned an open letter to anyone who needs it right now…

Dear you,

I’m so sorry you’re going through this loss but I’m so happy that you found our website, found this blog and hopefully will feel some sort of comfort and support by reading these words.

My name is Beth and I am a Bereavement Counsellor at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. I’m not an expert in grief by any means, but my job is to listen to people’s stories about their loss and to help them somehow process this life changing event.

One of the most asked questions I hear as a Bereavement Counsellor is “is what I’m feeling normal?” and the answer is, there is no right or wrong. However you are feeling, it is your natural response to something very unfair and upsetting.

Losing someone we love can make us feel angry. Angry at the world, angry at ourselves and sometimes even angry at the person who died. There may also be feelings of jealousy or envy that other people have what we want. We may yearn for what they have or what we used to have, to desperately return back to our life as it was. Anxiety, numbness and overwhelming sadness are feelings that may stay with us for a long time after somebody has died. The world we knew is no longer this safe place that it may have felt before. What will the future hold? What else could go wrong? How does life look without them now?

Thinking about the future without our loved one can bring about feelings of guilt. Picturing a life without them, making plans for days out or holidays can feel wrong and like we are betraying them in some way. If you’re feeling this way, it is perfectly valid and understandable. However, you are allowed to think about the future. You are allowed to laugh and smile again. You are allowed to feel happy again after somebody has died, this doesn’t mean that we’re forgetting they were alive.

Grief is like a rollercoaster. Some days, we may not want to get out of bed. We can’t concentrate or focus on everyday tasks. Even just doing the washing up or speaking to a friend on the phone can feel utterly exhausting. Other days however, may feel more bearable. We might be able get up out of bed, shower, go out for a walk or read for a short time. Celebrate these small achievements. The very fact that you are still existing without that person is enough.

I hope that today on the launch of grief awareness week that you feel heard and seen. The important takeaway from this blog is that there is no right or wrong. What you are feeling is what you are feeling. That’s not say it doesn’t feel rubbish and painful and this will be hard to get through. But please be reassured that there is help out there for you.

With time, support and being kind to ourselves, things can be ok again. You will carry the person we lost in our hearts and you will find a new kind of normal.

Take good care of yourself.