No Handbook When Grief Encounters Your World
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it” says Joan Didion in “The Year of Magical Thinking“. She couldn’t be more right.
Grief is a funny place, not ha ha, peculiar. A sort of club, which nobody really wants to join, but yet all of us will at some point. A club we join, not by choice.
Everyone talks about the stage of Grief, the disbelief, the heartbreak, the anger, but while still a relative newbie to this, I know this not to be true. Everybody’s grief is personal to them, and everybody grieves differently. There isn’t a template, and there is certainly no handbook that will guide you.
Sudden Death With No Goodbyes
When Martin died very suddenly just over a year ago, in front of two of my young kids, I joined this club. Something I knew could be on the cards in a couple of years, but not right then. I never got to say goodbye, or tell him one last time how much I loved him. However, in the coming weeks I knew I was not alone in this situation. Several of my friends have lost babies, parents and siblings, and I think listening to them and how they were still standing, got me through those first incredibly difficult days, weeks and months.
We don’t talk about grief, what it is and how were feeling in our grief enough. Many of the people supporting us don’t know what to say, or are scared to mentioned the loved ones name, for fear of causing more upset. However, this is something we need to do. We need to talk, we need to listen, and most importantly we need to talk about the person that has left us.
Reassurance For The Grieving
The podcast Grief Encounters was born out of this need. To offer a place for people to go and know they are not alone, to reassure people that they will get through this, and to help friends and family help their loved one that is grieving.
Since Grief Encounters first aired last December, myself and Sasha have talked at length to many people about their grief, how they’ve processed and continue to process it and how they’ve survived. The sharing of these stories has been invaluable to me to know I am not alone, that while grief is personal and relative, there are people going through a thousand times much worse situations, but also that there’s a common unity of understanding. If you’re going through it, you understand.
A couple of months after Martin died he would have been 50, our eldest son turned 13 and a few months later we should have celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Through all these milestones, and many more, my friends have been incredible and 100% present. But it’s the little moments when it hits you like a train, and you least expect it – walking to work in the morning, buying the kids birthday presents in Smyth’s, or when a song comes on the radio. These are times you have to go it alone, and live through every minute of that grief.
Walk In My Shoes
Of course, there is no way, unless you’re going through the loss of a loved one, you can put yourself in the other persons shoes, of course you can’t. I certainly don’t think I have done in the past. None know what to say to somebody in these situations, but starting a sentence off with, ‘At least ….. ‘ is definitely a no no.
What I’ve learned from the podcast so far, is we as a society need to listen more, we need to be mindful that somebody might be going through something we know nothing about, we need to talk about the people that have left us, and say their name out loud.
Finding Strength From The Club – Grief Encounters
Presenting Grief Encounters has helped me in so many ways, it’s given me strength on days I mightn’t have been feeling particularly strong, its given me huge admiration for our amazing guests and their ability to talk, and continue their lives with such dignity, often in incredibly difficult circumstances. But most of all its made me realize we are all in this together. This club.
Written By: Venetia Quick
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More About the Podcast – Grief Encounters
Grief Encounters is a weekly podcast series that looks at an issue that affects us all and yet remains so difficult to talk about: grief. Hosts Venetia Quick and Sasha Hamrogue hope to open up the conversation around loss and create a modern platform for people to share their own experiences, and start an open dialogue around the subject of death and all that comes with it.
Find on iTunes: Grief Encounters
Find on Twitter: twitter.com/GriefPod