Grief Awareness Week 2020
The 2-8 December 2020 is National Grief Awareness Week, a campaign running for it's second year, in an effort to raise awareness of the impact of grief and loss on a national platform.
Each day has a unique theme with the overall message of #ShareYourStory.
Someone experiencing loss can often felt alone and isolated, and that has been magnified somewhat during the Covid19 crisis. The aim of #ShareYourStory is to try and and help with that sense of isolation. Sharing stories can help to work through your grief and keep a connection alive in some ways. It can help others to understand the impact of grief and loss as well as enabling more conversations to take place.
Grief is a a normal and natural emotional response to the experience of loss. It can come as a heavy pain, anger, sadness, guilt, denial, shock and even relief. Everyone is affected in their own unique way and isn't just about death, it can accompany other significant life events such as retirement, moving, relationship breakdowns.
Covid19 has turned the world on it's head in many ways, we've all experienced a lot of loss, and today the focus is on Covid19 deaths. But, it feels important to acknowledge the wider impact that I see with my clients on a daily basis. People have lost people in death, but also they have lost their connection friends and as we follow lockdowns and local tier restrictions and don't socialise. We have lost a sense of normality, our daily routines, going in to work, seeing our colleagues at lunch, popping over to someones house for a cuppa. And, some people have lost their jobs as a direct result of this crisis. 2020 has been a challenging year.
All of this and more might trigger a grief response in you or those around you. It is important to know that there is no "right way" to grieve, the experience is unique to you. It will be shaped by many things, and may not even feel the same as the "other time" you grieved. Most people are able to work through their grief. However, sometimes a little support to help you get through the grieving process can be beneficial. Giving yourself time and permission to grieve is important, to allow yourself to acknowledge and let your emotions out. The Good Grief Trust offers some really good advice and resources for people to think about and consider.
The flip side to this is being a family member or friend supporting someone who is going through a loss. And you can play an important role in supporting that person, helping reduce their sense of isolation and helping them share their story. It can be difficult to know what to say or do at these times but small acts can be enough. Words aren't always what is needed, sometimes just being there for someone is enough.
Reflecting back on 2020, we know that a great deal of trauma and distress has been felt and reinforced by the experience of restrictions and limitations. Grieving at home, without being able to reach out to friends and family in the usual way, to experience a real human connection and sometimes that comfort that can only be achieved through a hug. As in so many other ways, we have had to adapt and look for new ways to share our grief with others. This is the message for this week this year. #ShareYourStory
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