The support of families and strangers

Grief is a deeply individual experience, and one person’s experience after one month may or may not be similar to someone who has been bereaved for the same length of time.

Grief is not a one-size-fits-all, and there is no set linear timescale that applies when living beyond a loved one’s passing, no matter what the 5-stage model says about grief. There are also different responses to grief from others based on gender, cultural or social traditions, or their own life experiences. Even different members of the same family can respond differently to the death of the same person. Grief is entirely unpredictable.

Given that people respond so differently, there may be times when you want to speak about your loss but conversations are shut down by family or friends who don’t feel able to talk about it, or assume you don’t want to do so. Or it may be that people don’t know what to say, and this can sometimes lead them to saying things that can feel insensitive and hurtful. This can understandably intensify and feelings of sadness and isolation.

This can often lead people to worry about the challenges of dealing with their grief and the impact their feelings may have on others. The phrase “burdening others” comes up regularly at our support events – it’s a belief many carry, that if they talk about their loss they might upset those around them or weigh them down with the responsibility to help. This is so common, however, it is often based on our own fears rather than any signs people have given us that we would be burdening them.

It is important to look for the people and places that do make you feel comfortable talking. Talking helps – it provides us with the opportunity to process and connect to our grief, we need that outlet. We know that talking is not easy, but bottling up thoughts and feelings can make us feel a lot worse.

We’re often told that an outstretched helping hand from a complete stranger who has been through something similar can provide immensely strong feelings of connection and support. This is what our support events are based on – bringing people together.

At The Loss Foundation we are always here to offer that outstretched hand to you.  You will never be a burden on us. So come and join us. You can find information on our upcoming support events on our calendar.

With best wishes,
The Loss Foundation