You know when the phone rings at 1am that something, somewhere is horrible wrong. You grab for the phone, your brain trying to wake up and become alert before its second ring. You listen, you respond, you jump out of bed and scrabble for suitable clothing before you rush out of the door. You drive, you park, you knock, you don your face mask, recognising that it’s not a good sign when staff are right there, waiting for you, with a thermometer, apron and gloves. Once wearing the required PPE, you walk into your elderly Mum’s room and begin the end-of-life vigil. Keeping family informed is a small opportunity for the tightly held emotions to slip a bit, but for some reason it can feel necessary to rein that all back in again until what is expected, happens.
Then there is the phone call saying ‘your brother has died’ – a very unexpected passing, the ‘but he’s only 65 that’s no age’ sort of hurdle that seems to block the reality of the situation. The inevitable flat clearance, under a time pressure because the landlord wants to rent it out again ‘just as soon as possible.’ Another funeral, another estate, yet more administrative hurdles to overcome.
For many more people than usual, loss, grief, expected and unexpected deaths are the reality, as we journey through this pandemic. The toll of not one, but two losses within 3 months of each other, has brought to light within our family a number of emotions – sadness, anger, anxiety, a sense of relief as well as being overwhelmed, isolation, irritation and numbness. All normal emotions but each having to be dealt with, whilst continuing the ‘normal’ functions of life.
Here at Hope Trust we try to deliver a 4-week Bereavement Support Group course in the Spring and the Autumn. In each of the weeks we talk about how to grieve well, we explain that grief takes time, we look at different emotions associated with grief, we talk about how whilst there is no time frame for just how long your grief will last, just that you will survive and get through it. We also give those who attend a chance to share their personal stories because everyone’s experience of grief and loss is unique to them.
We also dispel some myths over the 4 weeks of the course - Pain will not go away faster if you ignore it: You don’t have to be strong in the face of your loss: Not crying does not equate to not caring: Moving on with life does not mean you will forget them.
If you have experienced loss and feel the need to work through your grief, then Hope Trust is here for you. Our Spring course will begin just as soon as we are allowed to host it safely, but if it would help to chat between now and then, please give us a call. If that doesn’t work for you then there are also a number of good resources available on the internet, try www.helpguide.org or even the website of the Funeral Director you used, that will have a number of helpful links as well. Remember - you are not alone.