Welcome to our page for those of you who are newly bereaved. We are so sorry that you are here, but we hope you will find help now, and feel as though we can offer a little hope for the future, with the love and support from others who have been through a similar loss.
We know that your grief will be different to ours, but we do understand, as we have all lost someone we love at The Good Grief Trust. We have been at the early stages as you are now, which can be so incredibly difficult, so we want you to know that you are not alone and that we are here to offer you our friendship and support. Please scroll down for stories from others who are bereaved and articles explaining how people dealt with their own grief early on and we hope the advice from the professionals to you is also helpful.
Take your time, this is your grief and there is no right or wrong way to be. Whatever you feel now is right for you. We are here for you, so please know that you are not alone.
Click here for our UK map to find your local support service. Please visit these pages, they have important information that you may want to read now.
Fiona Murphy MBE
Julia Samuel MBE
Things I wish I had known - our advice to you, from those who have been through it
I wish I had known.............
- That the only recording I may have of my partner is on a voicemail, on my phone or my answer machine which may automatically get deleted. (Please save them now if you are concerned, this can be devastating for some people).
- That I could get help for my children from a child psychologist. (Visit www.bacp.co.uk for information on finding a qualified counsellor).
- That Widowed and Young existed – www.widowedandyoung.org.uk a charity for those under 50 who have lost a partner.
- That someone had told me that I didn't have to rush the funeral and that I could have had a memorial service, several months later, instead of planning an event just after my husband died.
- That I should have said yes to any practical help offered. Grief can be exhausting and I would have appreciated jobs being done around the house, that my children were looked after for a while and that paperwork was dealt with for me.
I wish I had known................
- That I could do what I wanted when I was ready to do it. I didn't need to explain or justify why.
- That after I lost my mother to cancer I could have had a few treats like a massage or reflexology session at the local Maggies Centre, but no-one told me, I could really have done with someone being nice to me (www.maggiescentres.org).
- That in those early days I wish I'd spent more time looking after me - magnesium salt baths, scented candles, reiki sessions and long walks listening to soothing music or audio books.
- That I wish I'd written more thoughts down so I could remember the journey I've been on and how our tragedy is leading to positive achievements.
- That it was okay to say I feel crap, when people asked how I was rather than oh you know I'm okay. When I did start telling people how I really felt, I got a lot of support, but by saying I was okay it gave them an excuse not to dig deeper so I felt swamped by my grief.
I wish I had known.............
- That friends can often be the greatest source of strength and understanding - they are invaluable.
- That I could say ‘yes’ to any offers of help – you can always change your mind later.
- That people will want to express sympathy – I had to learn to say ‘thank you’ and not waffle a load of inanities I couldn’t believe I could hear myself saying.
- That early on is the time to put yourself first - always do what feels best for you.
- That you will be given lots of advice from friends and family. Whatever their thoughts - go with your gut instinct.
- That it can be hard talking to those who have not experienced what you have. Seek out people who have been through a similar loss.
- That you don't have to listen to the uneducated. Everyone thinks they know about loss and they want to tell you. You do not have to listen, just tell them you are not ready.
- That you will receive many offers of help and, initially you may want to decline a lot of them - try not to. Let people help you because the sad reality is that will fall away - if you constantly say no, people will stop asking.
- That I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help - it's not a sign of weakness.
I wish I had known.............
- That it's okay to do whatever I need or want to do!!
- That all the horrific emotions I was feeling were very normal and part of the grieving process.
- That there is no "normal" way to grieve and that we can experience grief in different ways.
- That I had known that I would go over everything that happened from diagnosis to death over and over and over in my head every time I am alone.
- That it is ok to stop people if you don't want to hear what they're saying.
- That I could let friends and family know what help and support I needed, rather than what they think I need.
I wish I had known the physical affects of grief...............
If you do have any concerns regarding new physical symptoms, please make sure you visit your GP. Visit these sites for articles that may be helpful.
Our bodies react to our feelings and it’s common for grief to produce physical symptoms. Even simple, everyday things like getting up in the morning, going to school, college or work, or talking to friends may be a huge effort.
Murdered soldier Lee Rigby's mother says she has felt daily chest pains since her son's death. Why does bereavement affect some people this way?
On line community - the physical symptoms of grieving
Of all the unimaginable aspects of grief, there is one thing we hear people say time and time again, that they didn't really expect: physical grief symptoms. They might not have been fully able to appreciate the emotional roller coaster of grief, until they were on it, but they at least had a sense it was part of the process. The physical stuff is something many people tell us they simply didn't know to expect until it hit them like a ton of bricks.
A few comments from our Facebook page - physical symptoms that others have experienced
"Like everything else about grief, nobody warns you or talks about the physical symptoms. After my mum's horrific death, I didn't sleep for months, had horrible nightmares when I did, had heart palpitations, and the stress had me breaking out in hives, then shingles (which I'd never had before). All of this on top of excruciating mental pain. Without my husband's support, I am 100% sure I wouldn't have made it out alive. Thank you for addressing this topic!"
"Oh yes. So many side effects to crippling grief. When I lost my partner I barely slept for a year, I became nocturnal going to bed at 4am and sleeping until 1pm, and then I'd have to go back to bed by 4pm for a nap I was so exhausted. Everything ached, my head and shoulders were constantly in pain from crying and stress. My skin and hair went to pot and hair still falls out now. It's the worst experience that will ever happen to me so I'm not surprised the side effects were so extreme"
"Heart palpitations, fatigue, sleep problems, high blood pressure all after our son was killed suddenly in a workplace incident at 33"
"Brain fog, eczema, insomnia, weight gain, depression and I feel empty".
"Anxiety / panic attacks, exhaustion, weight loss, loss of appetite, widows brain, heightened PMS symptoms"
"I developed chronic pain syndrome after crippling grief. This has been with me for the past 18 years"
"And my tongue developed something called geographic tongue. It annihilates taste and it looks awful".
If you do have any concerns regarding new physical symptoms, please make sure you visit your GP.
Do you need to speak to someone now?
24 HOUR SUPPORT LINES
|Samaritans||116 123 (UK)||For anyone at anytime for any reason|
|Childline||0800 1111||Support for under 25yrs and their relatives|
|Silverline||0800 470 8090||Support for the over 50's|
DAY/EVENING SUPPORT LINES
|Cruse||0808 808 1677||Nationwide bereavement support|
|Child Bereavement UK||0800 02 88840||Helpline (9 - 5pm)|
|Child Death Helpline||0800 282 986
0808 800 6019
|Every evening 7-10pm
Mon/Thurs/Fri - 10am - 1pm
Tues/Wed - 10am - 4pm
|Bereavement Advice Centre||0800 634 9494||Practical advice (9 - 5pm)|
|Bereavement Trust||0800 435 455||Emotional and practical advice (6 - 10pm)|
|Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide||0300 111 5065||9am-9pm every day|
|Breathing space Scotland Helpline for when it becomes difficult to cope||0800 838587||
Monday to Thursday - 6pm - 2am
Friday 6pm - 6am
The Good Grief Project-The Good Grief Project offer nuggets of hope and comfort for the newly bereaved
Bereaved Parent Support Day- Support days for anyone who has lost a child at any age
Royal College of Psychiatrists - Information about feelings immediately after a bereavement
Marie Curie Wellbeing Advice- Some practical advice on looking after yourself immediately after the death of a loved one
Find local support
Rowan Williams-This book is hardly a preparation for grief – how could it be. But it is a helpful insight into what grief looks like from inside. That knowledge alone will help you avoid delivering the kind of crass statement, insensitive comment and crushing platitude that – even with the best intention, invariably only makes things worse.
Are You Sad Little Bear?
Rachel Rivett- a beautifully written little book to help explain the death of a grandparent to young children
The Grief Survival Guide: How to navigate loss and all that comes with it
Jeff Brazier-provides guidance and advice to the bereaved from personal experience
The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister
Cathy Rentzenbrink-. Told after her brother died, aged 16. It’s a story for anyone who has ever watched someone suffer or lost someone they loved or lived through a painful time that left them forever changed. Told with boundless warmth and affection (Amazon)
Beyond Tomorrow- The essential Guide to life after bereavement
Judy Carole Kaufmann-The period following the death of a loved one can be a time of great turmoil. This sensitive book acts as a helpful and supportive road map through the initial period of loss, and through the weeks and months that follow.
Roark McMaster- The story is written and presented in the format of an illustrated story. It is written to provide comfort and hope to parents, siblings, and families that have experienced loss. The book is written by: Daddy, for Mummy. It could be written by any Daddy for any Mummy that has been through this type of trauma. The book has space for a parent to add their child s name and commit the book to his or her memory.
See you Soon:A Mother’s Story of Drugs, Grief and Hope
Phillipa Skinner-This book is a honest and reflective account of a mother’s story as she faces up to and lives through her son’s death from a heroin overdose in 2007. Skinner is writing for those who are bereaved, those seeking to support people who are, and also, more specifically, for people affected by addiction – whether through a family member, friend or a personal struggle.
Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing
Lorraine Ash-Ash discusses the inner changes she faced after the stillbirth of her daughter and delves into spiritual questions that shook her soul. The final message: Epiphanies emerge from the stuff of everyday experience. Hope is here.
Holy Innocents: Grieving for the Death of a Baby
Margaret Sparshott- This book describes the physical and individual development of the newborn; the different stages of bereavement and how they relate to death before, during, and after birth; and ways in which bereaved parents and other members of the family may be supported by friends, and members of the different professions. Special attention is paid to the beliefs of major religions and how they view the spirituality and death of a baby and minister to the bereaved family.
Grief in Young Children- A Handbook for Adults
Atle Dyregov-For years, I have strongly advised adults to read Grief in Children because I believe it is the most sympathetically written and accessible book on the topic. It is the thoughtful distillation of many years’ clinical experience of working with bereaved children and their families
A Beastly Burden
Merel Barends-When I was a teenager, my younger brother took his own life. I never saw it coming.
Twenty years too late, I am figuring out how I could have helped him.
An Empty Chair: Living in the wake of a sibling’s suicide
Sara Swan Miller- too often, the grief and bewilderment of surviving siblings is simply ignored, leaving the bereaved siblings feeling even more abandoned. The accounts of siblings’ experiences in this book are based on interviews with more than thirty people from all over the United States, as well as the author’s own experience of losing a sister to suicide.
History of a Suicide: my sister’s unfinished life
Jill Bialosky-The author presents an account of her sister’s suicide, and the lifelong impact that the suicide has had on her own life and the lives of the other members of her family.
Tips from widows
Jan Robinson-It is like a crib sheet of how to cope; it is as helpful to friends of widows as to the widows themselves, and it is written from experience, which is the bedrock of reliable advice
Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad
Rio Ferdinand-after the sudden and tragic loss of his wife Rebecca to cancer. Written to help others through their grief, he shares, openly and honestly, the hard journey he’s on with his three young children and the support and advice that’s getting them through.
Peter Speck and Ian Ainsworth Smith- this book holds a central place within the pastoral literature for carers of the dying or bereaved. Since publication of the first edition, research and new multi-professional approaches to care require more than ever that those in ministry develop a good grasp of current understanding and models of grief
Living with Loss and Grief: Letting Go, Moving on (Overcoming Common Problems)
Julia Tugendhat-Grief and loss come in many different forms, from the searing pain when a loved one dies, to the necessary mourning for lost dreams and changed ideals at different life stages. After loss, people cannot be as they were before, but they can adapt to the changed circumstances and go on from there. This book looks at ways of grieving and the factors which help the grieving process.
Death… And How To Survive It: A unique, practical and uplifting guide to coming to terms with the loss of your partner
Kate Boydell-was widowed at the age of 33. She felt that her life had lost its purpose and she wanted it to end. But she got through it – and so can everyone. In this down-to-earth, practical, insightful and often humorous guide, Kate draws on her own experience of bereavement to offer frank advice on coping with every aspect of the grieving process.
Widow to Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas For Rebuilding Your Life
Genevieve Davis Ginsburg- widow, author, and therapist offers fellow widows-as well as their family and friends-sage advice for coping with the loss of a husband
I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can
Linda Feinberg-A guide for young widows and widowers through the normal grieving proccess that highlights the special circumstances of an untimely death. Young widows and widowers share thoughts and dilemmas about losing a loved one, what to tell young children experiencing a parent’s death, returning to work and dealing with in-laws.
When Bad things Happen in Good bikinis
Helen Bailey-takes her readers with her on her journey through life after the inconceivable loss of her husband – accompanied by her faithful dachshund, Boris. Honest, searing, yet often laugh-out-loud funny, this is a compelling story of a marriage, and a truly life-affirming testament to the power of survival.
Grief is a Thing with Feathers
Max Porter-two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him
6 Word Lessons on Coping with Grief
Living with Loss- A guide for the recently widowed
Liz Taylor-a survival guide for a widow following her journey to inner peace
The Courage to Grieve
Judy Tatelbaum-expert advice on how to cope with loss and bereavement
The Empty Bed-Bereavement and the Loss of Love
Susan Wallbank- describes the feelings of love and intimacy following the death of her husband
You’ll Get Over It
Virginia Ironside- A very frank observation of grief and loss
The Early Days
David Nuttall, finding support in the early days
The Grief Book
Debbie Moore helps you to understand and manage your grief
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg is a much publicised journey of grief and loss
Julia Samuel, discusses her work as a therapist
Lee Pycroft talks about what we can do when you feel grief is overwhelming you
We hope these quotes will help you to know that things will get better
It will just take time - one hour, one day, one step at a time.....