GRIEF AND LOSS – EDITORIALS FOR BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT OGANISATION
Bereavement is a psychic amputation. Just as one might lose a limb, initially you can’t function effectively and all you can see 24/7 is that it isn’t there. Gradually, you learn to compensate and adapt and have moments when you forget. But always you have times, often unexpectedly triggered, when you are reminded that the limb is missing. So too with our sorrow. You never ‘get over’ the person having died, but you adapt to breathing without them, somehow, but not quite intact anymore. Death devastates individuals and impacts relationships with family and friends as it is not always clear how to best support the complex needs of those who are grieving.
I was asked to write editorials for The Compassionate Friends, a support organisation for bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents. While the slant of each is towards this form of loss, the concepts I have written about would be equitable for anyone who has lost a loved one.
In the first editorial I explore the concept of hope, of surviving, when in the agonising period following our loss it feels we cannot possibly go on as the incline is too steep. The second deals with the impact of bereavement on relationships, as different grieving styles can drive a despairing wedge between partners and families as each try to make it through as best they can. My third was written for the holiday season and how to cope with general festivities in a world of celebration when the light in yours has been snuffed. It takes courage to grieve. It takes effort to support others through it. But with empathy, sensitivity and patience, balanced with a respect for an individual’s unique approach to mourning, a way through can be realised. To read more, click on the PDF files below: