Grief Awareness Week 2022
Bereavement is everyone’s business
The above is the title of the UK Commission on Bereavement published in October 2022. As we acknowledge National Grief Awareness week 2-8th December there is much to be done to counter the loneliness and unacknowledged grief that people encounter daily.” Facing a bereavement is one of the most profound upheavals that anyone of us experiences”. The pandemic has left a long tale and evidence submitted to the commission demonstrated that the impacts of grief are both intense and wide ranging touching all areas of life. Deaths were often sudden and unexpected, and lockdown led to people feeling alone and isolated. 35% reported that they had had no support from family and friends. Services were limited and many bereaved people felt embarrassed to ask for help.
The Commission recommends that we need more education about the about the effects of grief. Schools, colleges, and workplaces could help by having bereavement policies. Bereavement services should expand and represent the communities they serve. Londoners experienced the most Covid deaths, they are also likely to have the poorest outcomes in cancer services and yet many bereavement services are inaccessible to parts of the community because of language and cultural limitations.
Grief is a unique experience and will affect people in different ways often lasting for many months, years and the emotional impact will change with time. Mourning is often determined by culture, and we know that memorialising is important. So, as we approach Christmas in the Christian calendar and important calendar events for the wide range of religions in the UK we remember. The absent chair at the table, names left off Christmas cards and bereaved children struggling to understand the absence of a parent what we can do to help.
We can start by talking about bereavement within our communities. Reaching out to friends and neighbours, taking risks to say the name of the dead person. Inviting the bereaved person into our homes. You don’t need to be an expert, being a good listener will teach us what it is to be bereaved. Bereavement will affect all of us at some point in or lives.
“Grief is the pain that we pay for love.”
Colin Murray Parkes
Author: Pam Firth, visiting lecturer for The Counselling Foundation, Clinical Trustee Grief Encounter
We provide a BACP accredited counselling service, however if you are in crisis, please call the Samaritans who are available 24/7 on 116 123 or call 111.