How to find new ways to unite in grief and celebrate a loved one’s life
When I miss those I have lost, I am always glad for the life we had together. I don’t think about how they died, I focus on how they lived
The importance of talking about griefWhen you allow yourself the freedom to express your grief, you actually begin to reduce it and this is where we start to heal. The ability to experience and to share our emotions is all part of being human. Reach out to each other. There is no right or wrong way to grieve - whatever you are feeling is right for you.
Become part of the virtual funeralWith restricted attendance at funerals and self-isolation, you may not be able to attend the funeral of someone you love. Many funerals are now being live-streamed so you can be a witness to the ceremony. Mark this day and this time, and give it the gravitas and respect it deserves. This is an important step in your grieving experience. When we go through certain rituals for grieving, we let some of it go. Take time to prepare. Have a candle to light, photographs to hand. Memorialise your surroundings for the person. Dress for the occasion as if you were going to attend in person. Grief isn’t just emotional, it’s physical too and doing these things will help you. When we walk through our grief we get rid of some of its weight.
Use your phone, iPad or laptop to reach each otherNever has social media and our electronic devices been more needed and this will be your lifeline through lockdown. We can use these to unite with each other. Try a Zoom family and friends gathering. Make sure you save your chat so the content can be collated at the end. Before starting the Zoom chat, ask everyone to write down a favourite memory of the person who has died and what will stay with them forever. Take turns to speak without interrupting one another. Agree a set time with family and friends when you all light a candle at the same time next to a photograph and play a favourite song. When we light candles, we come into communion with each other spiritually and we give energy into the spirit world of the person who has died. In her Easter speech, HM The Queen spoke of the power of light overcoming darkness. And so, it is that when we gather in spiritual community and hold someone in the light, we invite a healing power. Coming together in these ways means that no-one is left alone with their grief, and even though we cannot reach to one another physically, we can with our words and our love. FaceTime, videos and phone calls bring us closer to the people in our lives.
Enjoy your memoriesMemory is how we hold onto the things we love. Reach out and speak them out loud to each other and keep the emotional bond shining. In the midst of brokenness and broken-heartedness, we know that it is our memories and the sharing of those memories that sustain us. Bereavement is the ultimate experience which forces a major change in our lives, so it is vital that we have some semblance of preparation for ourselves and those in our lives. Share your love in words with your family and friends. Tell them what they mean to you, what they have taught you and what’s important to you in your relationships with them. Think of your own footprint and how you want to be remembered. Think of the things you would like to leave to your family that matter to you - love, kindness, courage - whatever it is you choose, so that when an ending comes, every time they find themselves doing the things you did and that were important to you, they will feel you close and be comforted. This is how we remember the people we love. When I miss those I have lost, I am always glad for the life we had together. I don’t think about how they died, I focus on how they lived.
Find a therapist dealing with bereavement
All therapists are verified professionals.