Guiding my Grief: Connecting with Others.

I started this blog because I had been really struggling to process and express my grief. This is going to be a different post than others previously, as it’s going to confront my grief and some of the ways in which I manage it. I’ll be doing more of this style post – almost as a mini series or set of posts. I hope you like it!

When I’m having a particularly ‘griefy’ day, I can get stressed or overwhelmed by seemingly insignificant things. Sometimes I find myself being contentious and alienating myself from people who care about me and haven’t done anything wrong (mainly because I’m pissed off that my Mum is dead and theirs isn’t). There have been and are occasions that I find it difficult and almost inconvenient to tell someone that the reason I’m being a cantankerous little bugger is because I’m having a bad day because I miss my Mum.

It was at the point that this was happening almost daily that I realised I needed to find a suitable and beneficial outlet for my grief. I searched Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook to find anyone, anything that I could relate to. And let me tell you, I found some absolutely brilliant accounts, groups, people, podcasts, and books to connect with and relate to. I found that there was a LOT of people who’ve been through similar situations to me – similar in that they’d also lost a parent at a pivotal and early stage in both theirs and their parents’ lives. It didn’t exactly shock me, but jolted a reaction in me because at that point, I knew of only 3 other people who’d lost their parents as young as I had – who happen to be 3 of my colleagues. (I’m going to list/link all those great outlets below in the hopes that it helps someone who might be reading this!)

I also made the decision to go to counselling sessions. I researched therapy in my area and found a wonderful counsellor local to me (who works Saturday mornings and doesn’t charge extra for it!), who has really helped me start to piece my “grief journey” together. For me, the great thing about therapy is the security that everything you say is free of judgement, it’s confidential, and it’s about putting yourself first. My counsellor encourages me to make sense of my thoughts, actions, and feelings, and helps me to kind of map out how I can approach sensitive situations. It’s also lovely to just tell someone about how fucking great my Mum was.

I speak to my brother. I whinge and moan and cry at him about how shit I’m feeling, as he’s the closest person to me who’s experienced exactly the same loss. We also reminisce, share stories and photos, and take the piss out of Mum daily. It helps to keep our memories of her alive, even the difficult and not so nice memories. That’s the thing about losing someone, you lose every part of them, the good and the bad. My brother is funny, intelligent, accepting, and he’s my friend. There is no one that so closely resembles my Mum in the way my brother does, and I’m so grateful for the relationship he and I have.

Here are some grief relieving resources I’ve found super useful!

“The Grief Gang” Podcast – Amber Jeffrey lost her Mum from a sudden heart attack whilst she was 19. Amber talks really candidly about her Mum’s story and her reaction to what happened. Her podcasts are so relatable, and Amber is authentic and funny. Her episodes are brilliantly put together, sometimes with special guests who share their own stories too. Her Instagram account is: @thegriefgang, and you can find her podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts by searching for “The Grief Gang”.

“Life. Death. Whatever.” Is an Instagram account that I stumbled across on my explore tab. Run by Anna Lyons and Louise Winter, they present their account as a community which addresses death, dying, life, living, illness, funerals, and grief. They run interactive posts and encourage their followers to share their stories and experiences (they made my submission into both a feed and story post!) Find them here @lifedeathwhat

You can find their amazing website here: https://www.lifedeathwhatever.com/ they have loads of different ways to participate alongside grief resources. Anna and Louise have also written a book together! I’ve pre-ordered it as it will be published mid April. If you’re interested, you can pre-order here:  https://www.lifedeathwhatever.com/the-book

“Let’s Talk About Loss” – is a UK based Facebook group founded by and for young bereaved people. Let’s Talk About Loss is a place for 18-35 year olds who have been bereaved to find friendship, support and a place that understands. They’re doing amazing work and encouraging talking through the taboo. They have location specific private groups on Facebook – you can find yours by searching “Let’s Talk About Loss *your location here*” on Facebook. The groups host meet ups to get people connected and involved with grief. Their instagram account is: @talkaboutloss

Loved and Lost Project by Simon Bray –  http://www.lovedandlostproject.co.uk/ Simon Bray is a photographer who lost his Dad from prostate cancer in 2009. Simon asks each participant to find a photograph of themselves with their lost loved one, he then invites them to return to the location of the original photograph to replicate the image, to think back and remember, to tell the story of that day and of the person that they lost.

Simon created a Kickstarter page to fund the design and publishing of “Loved and Lost: Volume 1” as a book. I backed that project and bought the book, read it cover to cover within about 18 hours. You might be able to still buy a copy here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/simonbray/lovedandlost-volume-1

“Dealing with my Grief” Podcast – Darwyn Dave lost his father when he was murdered in the shop that his family owned and managed when Darwyn was ten years old. His podcasts have helped me put so many aspects of my grief into perspective and offered a huge insight into what happens when death is not only unexpected, but tremendously tragic. http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/ His Instagram account is: @dealingwithmygrief, and you can find his podcasts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts by searching for for “Dealing with my Grief”

The Dead Moms Club: A Memoir about Death, Grief, and Surviving the Mother of All Losses Paperback – by Kate Spencer. Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Moms-Club-Memoir-Surviving/dp/1580056873/ref=sr_1_1?crid=OPRV0KKY98Q8&keywords=the+dead+moms+club&qid=1579813190&sprefix=the+dead+moms%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-1

Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died: Coping with Loss Every Day – by Ty Alexander. Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Wish-Knew-Before-Died/dp/1633533883/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2NSPBZ82C0PFP&keywords=ty+alexander&qid=1579813393&sprefix=ty+ale%2Caps%2C155&sr=8-1

Loss of a Parent: Adult Grief When Parents Die – by Theresa Jackson. Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Loss-Parent-Adult-Grief-Parents/dp/1973365634/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=theresa+jackson+death+of+a+parent&qid=1579813244&sr=8-1

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