Coping with grief

In my privileged position in working with the bereaved I recognise that everyone grieves in different ways, at different times and in a family unit it is a very difficult time for all concerned.

One of the key things I have noticed is how parents hide their own feelings from their children feeling it inappropriate to cry in front of them. Of course this is to be expected and in a way for some admired but for the grieving parent who may have lost their life time partner it makes their own journey placed on hold to a certain degree.

The British way of being strong, keeping a stiff upper lip is one which frustrates me terribly and this, I speak from personal experience; as a child surrounded by adults set on surpressing their own grief and probably my own too. I always maintain to speak of our loved ones and remember them keeps them alive in our minds, our hearts and of course helps the bereavement process…to deny their existence is not only cruel but of no use to anyone.

If you know of any one mourning a loved one reach out to them and communicate, let them talk, let them cry if they need to…it’s normal. Most of all do not avoid visiting and please do not stop mentioning their loved one either – think of a funny story or a great occasion you shared.

 

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Helping the bereaved not ignoring them

Earlier this week during a visit with a bereaved lady we both agreed how we put on a brave face with those around who are also struggling in coming to terms with a loss of a loved one. Why is that? Over the past few years I have read many books on the beravement journey of others and have my own experiences to recollect too and what is blatently obvious is that to deny somebody’s right to grieve openly is of no use.

I am certain I would have said this before -my own mother said people crossed the road to avoid having to speak to her after my father died suddenly. It made me cross and upset then as a child and still does. However, shall we just be angry with the person that does that or should we feel sorry that they cannot find the words…any words?  As I have written in various articles just a hand on the arm or shoulder and ‘i’m thinking of you’ will suffice nobody who is recently bereaved expects you to say something profound honestly!

What we need as a bereaved person is for people to acknowledge our pain and the existence of those we have loved and lost. We have such a long way to go still in this country in dealing with how we approach the subject of death and it is something all of us will have to encounter and deal with at some stage of our life.

In a world where people post so many private things about their life (which frankly I would rather not see) I find it hard to believe that talking about death leaves them dumb struck.

As always I am sending a little reminder that it is after the funeral people need you to to phone or visit and let them know their loved one is not forgotten.  For anybody who is feeling alone in their grief then please talk to somebody, your loved one would not want you to suffer in silence and most of all celebrate their life.

A Mother’s love

The older I become the more, and I guess obviously so, my friends and extended family members are losing their parents. The loss of a Mother cuts deep and I described my own feelings at the time of just losing my sense of purpose – when I say that to the recently bereaved I always get a nod of acceptance. Bereavement brings a whole range of emotions and at times these feel so over-whelming. Some may argue it doesn’t get any easier and they are probably right but acceptance becomes stronger and we do start to remember their love and the gift they brought to us.

After being nagged by many of my friends and family I wrote my own thoughts and experiences of my own relationshipwith my mother down. It is true that writing is indeed therapeutic.

‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available from amazon kindle to download.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

Mother-s love (1)

**Cover illustration courtesy of Paul Manning

 

Cherishing those we love

The pace of life for most is fast, often too fast and so easily we neglect friendships and loved ones. We all need to slow it down at times and remember to tell those we love just how important they are to us.

I know I have said this many times before on my blog but in life we meet many people and some leave their imprint on our hearts forever. It is never a case of how long the friendship lasts but the depth of that relationship and that is what hurts the most when they leave our lives.

The journey of bereavement is a difficult one, sadly, for many without a quick exit route. Anniversaries can be extremely painful but in their own way they are good for us as it gives us the opportunity to release some of our grief. Only yesterday talking to a recently widowed friend I reminded her how it is good to cry. However, we silly English people think it inappropriate to cry; whereas many other countries openly grieve -the latter being far more beneficial.

If we are missing somebody we have lost then there is no shame in saying so. I was personally touched yesterday learning of how a young girl continued to send her grandad text messages after he had died – talking to him in heaven. For us writers we do that constantly, and I am told that my own honest rantings help others too.

Celebrate the relationships you have with those that are with you and continue to do that when they are no longer around as I am certain that is what they would want.

Sending a spiritual hug to those that really need it today.

Remember the tallest poppies are often picked first and that they were beautiful and loved.

Stroke awareness

I was pleased to see ‘Call the midwife’ this week featured a young mother who suffered a stroke. Any awareness is useful as knowledge is of course power in life. What a great deal of people do not realise is that strokes can happen at any age it’s not just the elderly. However, often elderly people may suffer a slight stroke (TIA) in their sleep and on waking just feel ‘unwell’.

Our family are stroke aware as we lost our Dad age just 44 to a massive cerebral haemorrage. I also had a slight stroke in my early forties though cause was never discovered.  I do as much as I can to raise awareness with stroke symptoms and just as importantly the stroke charities which do such great work supporting stroke suvivors and their families.

The Stroke Association have local support groups and quality information which can prove so useful when having to meet and discuss your situation with medics. Please visit their website:-

http://www.stroke.org.co.uk

 

Fighting our fears

Fighting our personal fears is a daunting prospect, but those fears may be holding us back from realising our dreams and even living a normal life. I have just watched the emotive ‘School for Stammerers‘ on ITV. What an amazing, sad yet hopeful documentary showing the journey of a group of mixed aged stammerers attending a course to help them control their speech problems.

As with many things in life the psychological impact runs deep and expressed in the show as being 90% fear for those with a stammer. It revealed how those suffering build up barriers preventing them from leading normal lives.

The course was a huge success with one thirteen year old boy saying ‘The course changed my life as I am free.‘ Being able to control their stammer all participants gained new lives,  were far more confident and with some being able to secure their personal and professional dreams. Whereas prior to the course even saying their own names was a real emotional struggle.

This is one well worth watching but be warned it will need the tissue box handy.

Kindness

A grey Monday morning may leave one feeling a bit miserable but turning our focus to something that inspires us and makes us happy is a good start to the week.

I still maintain that being kind to those we come into contact with gives us the opportunity to grow, be the bigger person and start that karma account which will return positive things in the future.

There are some people we encounter where being kind can prove a real challenge and there we have it…the challenge..so accept it, reflect a while and agree that the option to still be kind is the right one. We never know what journey that difficult person has been on which has led them to come out scratching but do we have to react? No.

The one thing we all have is the ability to chose how we behaviour we have no control over others… but we can perhaps encourage them to feel better and who knows maybe act better. Kill them with kindness I say, smile keep the world guessing.

Thoughts from the crazy cat lady…so hate people that hiss!

 

Cyber bullying

Glad to See Prince William discussing and supporting the modern day problem of cyber bullying. As I have written many times before school time bullying was just at school now its 24/7 and its effect can bring heartbreaking outcomes for families as victims feeling desperate sometimes take their own life.

Online bullying seemingly has no escape and it is so personal. Sadly we have a generation of people who post first think after…or not thinking at all. Parents, teachers need to remind all users of the ramifications of their actions.

Please read my article on Innovate My school’s website

http://www.innovatemyschool.com/industry-expert-articles/item/1670-how-schools-can-tackle-cyberbullying.html

What’s under the surface?

A lot of my friends and colleagues have ventured into pastoral type roles the past few years and recognise the importance of the support they give more often than not as a vocation to our struggling teens.

Modern life is a stressful path for our students aside of the stress of exams they have a lot of what many may see as self-imposed pressure via modern media. However, the emotional pain runs deep for many who suffer with various forms of peer pressure, cyber bullying and body conscious issues.

I am reminded today how we cannot always notice the signs as it is difficult to help somebody who is doing everything they can to hide their feelings. The following simple example explains a lot!

Think of a flower and its roots: The flower is things you can see happening  – what people say and do.  The roots are things you can’t see  – what people feel and think!

Delve deeper, ask the questions and give your children the platform to share they are our most precious gift.

To those in education holding the purse strings invest in our youth they are the future! We need more funding in pastoral departments not staff cutbacks.