Tag Archives: bereavement

Are you feeling lonely this Christmas?

It’s Christmas Eve. The presents are under the tree, the small boy is tucked up in bed waiting for Father Christmas and I’ve been crying on and off all day.

This time last year I was sat watching TV with my Dad, probably a Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special or something, I forget. I know we were sat watching telly with a brew in quiet companionship. My Dad lived alone and for some reason last year I hated the thought of him waking up in an empty house on Christmas morning, so I invited him to stay.

It was one of the best decisions I’d made in a long time. We had a lovely evening and topped it off a little glass of something at midnight to celebrate. After he was asleep we hung a little Christmas stocking on his door and went to bed. Christmas morning was wonderful. I think he’d forgotten how special and magical being in the house with a child on Christmas Day was. It was a day I will treasure forever. Six months later he was dead.

I hate the thought of someone being lonely or being alone when they want company and companionship. I’m northern so I always nod hello to strangers in the street. I’ll sometimes chat to people at the bus stop and I’m happy to make small talk with people in cafes, pubs or wherever. I try to judge it so I don’t come off as a weirdo. But I know that to some people, a little interaction and a chat at a bus stop might be the only conversation they might get that day.

I am lonely too. I miss my Dad so much because he was bloody good company, we’d talk and laugh, or exchange jokes. I’d show him funny things I’d found on Facebook (I’m still saving things to show him, forgetting that I’ll never be able to share a funny video with him again). Some days I hardly speak to a soul, bar the usual “put your shoes on…eat your tea…don’t pick your nose” parenting chatter.

I’ve bought a puppy for company, we’ve had her for ten days now and she’s part menace, part wonderful creature. She sits on my knee and nuzzles me when I cry. I hope she will help with my loneliness at any rate, and she is a comfort at least.

I was sat this afternoon, the house was quiet, the boys off doing things and I reflected on our Christmas so far. It struck me what a lonely time of year it is and how alone I am feeling right now. If I feel alone, then thousands of others must feel the same.

I’m not sure what the cure for that is, other than people extending the hand of friendship and being there. Recognising that someone might be lonely or alone when they might not want to be is probably the first step. It’s not all about parties and enthusiastic socialising. Just popping round for a brew, joining someone for a walk or just picking up the phone for a chat could make all the difference to someone.

Who do you know who might be feeling lonely this Christmas? It might not necessarily be the people you think might be lonesome either. Sending hugs to all those who need one. Merry Christmas xx

Are you feeling lonely this Christmas?

Grieving…. four months on

So *takes deep breath*, it’s been a while since we talked about how I’m getting on. It’s been a helluva year and not the good kind. Since my Dad died in June, apart from the initial outpouring of grief blog posts I wrote, I’ve tucked my feelings and thoughts away and tried to focus on just getting through my to do list instead of grieving.

I’ve tried to grieve privately and come to terms with everything in my own way. People we love die all the time, who am I to gnash and wail and to hog the grieving limelight? But people, kind people do ask and I say I’m doing ok. I’m not really, I’m doing as ok as I can do under the circumstances.

I’ve lost the first man I ever loved. I’ve lost one of my best friends and I don’t think I will ever get over it. The initial shock has gone, only to be replaced by the weird constant reminder that he’s not around. I saw some books yesterday he would love for Christmas. I didn’t buy them. I baked a cake I couldn’t share with him. I see things on TV I remind myself to tell him about, then remind myself that I can’t. I constantly think of going shopping with him. I loved going shopping with him, he hated shopping as much as I do and it was always a bit like supermarket sweep, something which amused us greatly. 

I cry a lot, every day. I cry privately and stick a smile on my face when I go out. If I can’t do that I throw on a pair of sunglasses and act like I’m too busy to hang around chatting. I went to the dentists the other week and lay in the chair, tears rolling silently down my cheeks because I was reminded of my Dad. The dentist probably thought I was being a wimp over my filling. Let him think that.

The small boy talks about him a lot. We don’t discourage it because I want him to hold the memory of him close. But kids are so blunt. “Grandad is dead isn’t he?” There’s no “passed on to the other side” euphemisms there. Sometimes I prefer the bluntness, he was never one for sugar-coating things when he was alive, so why dust his death with icing sugar?

So how am I doing? Not great, but as well as I can do under the circumstances. Thank you for asking x

Grieving

40 – My 40th Birthday

Today is my 40th birthday and I feel weird. Lots of my friends have turned 40 this year, most have been dragged kicking and screaming into their fourth decade. I feel like it’s just crept up on me. I’ve been too busy dealing with everything which has happened to us this year that my 40th birthday has been the very furthest thing from my mind.

I woke up this morning and I was 40. In all honesty I feel no different to how I did yesterday. It’s just a number. I’ve got bigger things to worry about than numbers.

Right now I feel like I am overflowing with emotions. I miss my dad more than I have words to say, my boy is starting school today and I’m all emotional about that, he’s having an operation soon, I’m emotional about that too. I’m touched that I have great friends who spent some of their weekend with me partying the last days of my 30’s away.

I am conflicted and anxious about a million different things. But in the weeks since my dad’s death and through the summer holidays, I have been reminded of the two most important people in my life, Matthew and Ben. This weekend has shown me all the people who care about me, friends old and new, from near and far. I am very lucky.

I guess (and I know I’m rambling) that I’m struggling to give a meh about anything. I feel numb inside, I’m overwhelmed by life and the only way I can keep putting one foot in front of the other is to focus on Ben. I feel like in some situations I’m faking emotions and joyous reactions to pretend to the world that everything is fine and normal. I am faking it until I make it. I wonder how many people do that just to get through?

I’m fine and I will be fine. I’m just going through two things almost everyone in the world faces at some point or another, turning 40 and losing a parent. I would turn 40 a thousand times just to have an hour with my dad. 

Today I’m going to try and be in the here and now. I’m going to focus on Ben and Matthew and the special people in my life who love me and care for me. I’m going to smile for the camera, take a walk in the park, blow out the candles on my birthday cake and raise a glass to my dad, and to my Grandma who would have been 103 today.

I don’t fear 40, it’s just a number. I fear life and what it will challenge me with next.

40th Birthday

Helping children cope with bereavement

Whatever age you are, dealing with the death of someone close to you isn’t easy and is one of the most emotionally painful things a person can go through. When we lose a loved one as an adult, we usually have an understanding of why they died and we’re able to work our way through the grieving process. Children, no matter how mature they are, can really struggle to understand why their loved one died and deal with their complex emotions in the weeks, months and years following their death.

Co-operative Funeralcare have teamed up with CHUMS the Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing service to create a DVD and resource pack to help families and children aged 7- 16 cope with the loss of a loved one. There are four DVDs in the series, ‘Our Year Since Mum Died’, ‘Our Year Since Dad Died’, ‘Our Year Since Gran Died’ and ‘Our Year Since Grandad Died’. I was sent the ‘Our Year Since Mum Died’ DVD to watch and understand.

The DVD, which can be picked up free of charge from any Co-operative Funeralcare Home is a well put together package. The DVD is animated which makes the content more accessible to the children it is meant to help. Each DVD comes with a booklet of guidance notes to help families, schools and other professionals support the bereaved child.

Each of the DVDs follows the first year following the death of a loved one and talks about how different family members may react and cope with the death of a relative, as well as looking at how Gemma (the girl in the DVD), copes and tries to get back into normal daily life, including dealing with big family occasions and anniversaries like Mother’s Day, birthdays and Christmas.

Bereavement is such a difficult subject for anyone to talk about, having this DVD is a great way to open up the conversation and help children to understand that what they are going through and how they are feeling is all perfectly normal and it’s fine to feel angry or abandoned or just incredibly sad.

The DVD has some downloadable resources which have been developed to help teachers, adults, support workers etc. offer the support a bereaved young person may need. This includes a lesson plan, a PowerPoint presentation and some questions and answers.

The booklet of guidance notes comes with the details of a range of organisations that can help with child bereavement, offering counselling, advice and support where needed.

Bereavement is a difficult subject for many and the reality is that in the UK a parent of a dependent child will die every 22 minutes, leaving 41,000 children without a parent each year. These Co-operative Funeralcare DVDs are an excellent resource and one which will help many children through an incredibly difficult time in their lives.

If you, your family or organisation are interested in obtaining a copy of any of these free DVDs, you should contact your local Co-operative Funeralcare Funeral Home directly. There are previews of each of the DVDs on the website, as well as more information about how and why it was made and further information about the child bereavement charity, CHUMS.

child bereavement

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