Why the Queen's death may be so hard for you
On Thursday evening, as I casually checked the news, I found out the Queen had passed away. While this wasn't a total shock, (it had been reported the previous day she was unwell and had been given Doctor's orders to rest) I suddenly found myself in tears, feeling utterly bereft. I have never been so moved or affected by the loss of a public figure before.
Of course, when hearing that a celebrity I admired or grew up watching or listening to had died there had always been a sense of loss and slight melancholy, but this was truly something else. I found myself feeling shaken and encompassed by a profound sense of sadness. Why such strong feelings for a person I never knew or even met?
As I reflected on my strong reaction, as well as witnessing the effect the Queen's death had on my friends, family and clients, the severity of the emotional impact of the Queen's death dawned on me. Below I will outline some possible reasons behind why some of us may be feeling so struck by the Queen's passing.
Triggered memories of previous loss
It could be that when you heard of the Queen's death, feelings that arose with a previous loss were triggered. You may not be consciously thinking of this other loss or loved one, but it is very possible that these feelings have resurfaced. It may not necessarily be the death of someone close to you, but the loss of a significant relationship or life purpose such as employment.
Sense of unsafety
The Queen was a constant in our lives. Regardless of our feelings around the monarchy and what they may represent, the Queen was unwavering. She was always there, rain or shine, as various Prime Ministers passed through Downing Street, as world conflicts ensued, as millions worldwide lost their lives to the pandemic.
It may be that many of us feel a sense of stability being snatched from under our feet, which may leave many feeling emotionally unsafe and even lost. It may also be the case that the loss of this constant figure highlights the lack of consistency or reliability in other aspects of our lives, which may be overwhelming.
Loss of cultural identity
The Queen was the head of the UK. Again, not everyone is a monarchist, and some feel strongly the monarchy should be completely abolished. However, she was the head of state and represented Britain when not only meeting worldwide leaders, but in times of celebration and sorrow. Her face adorned British bank notes, coins and stamps. For such everyday staples of British lives to now be taken away, it may result in a sense of lost cultural identity.
Alternatively, for those who strongly oppose the monarchy, such a public, worldwide outpouring of grief may induce a sense of loneliness and isolation as they can not relate to others reactions. This may also result in a sense of anger, as, those who oppose the monarchy may feel the mourning isn't justified, or is not comparable to other events taking place in both the UK and worldwide.
If you are feeling any of what I have described about the loss of Britain's monarch above, be kind to yourself as these feelings arise. Counselling around loss can support you in not only exploring and working through your emotions but can also enable you to learn more about yourself in the process. If you feel you could benefit from counselling with me please don't hesitate to get in touch.