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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ford

As I write this post today I can't help but feel, 'There are no words'.

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

photo credit:Jeremy Wong

As I sit down to write this post today I can't help but feel that 'there are no words'. And yet I feel compelled to write. I know millions of people are feeling the need to speak; they are wanting to be heard, to tell their story, to share their memories of the Queen.

Grief is complex, grief is individual and grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss. And as the country and the world take in the news of the sudden death of our dependable, gracious, wise and highly regarded Queen, many of us may be feeling a little 'off kilter'.

Personally I woke feeling disorientated and with an unusual heaviness on Saturday morning. I was acutely aware of it. Even though our late Queen or King Charles were not on my mind, consciously anyway, my heart & my body instinctively felt sad. My body knew I was affected by the loss. And to attempt to deny it would put my head and my heart out of sync.

I acknowledge of course that not everyone regarded the Queen in the same way - but even if you weren't a Royalist the death of Her Royal Majesty the Queen may still affect you. For some it's the acknowledgement that our country has changed forever. And change can bring with it feelings of anxiousness and feelings of sadness - because the familiarity of what we have known has changed forever.

It may affect us in the sobering fact that none of us are immortal. It may be the painful realisation that one day we may be grieving our mothers, grandmothers and other loved ones. I think this is true for me right now.

King Charles, has not just lost his mother, but his wise and dependable sage, his crux; she was someone he sought guidance from in his role as Prince of Wales and on many personal matters too. His grief may be 'complicated', on one hand he is now King, a role he was born in to, but this became his reality after the death of his beloved mother.

I cannot imagine the enormous pressure that puts him under, despite knowing that one day this was to be his fate, that one day he would be King. Some may say that for many decades he has been living a sort of 'rehearsal' , and yet the shock and the immense speed at which things are changing for him, must feel like a whirlwind, a surreal reality for him and his family.

His grief, and that of his family, is also unnaturally public. Just like when we grieve a loved one and our world as we knew it had changed forever, so it has for King Charles, ( it feels so strange to write King Charles) he is after all only human and he is a son whose mother has just suddenly died.

But unlike the rest of us, our grief was personal, we didn't have the world and it's cameras at our doors, looking in and possibly judging. But where the grief comes together is that sobering fact that the world continues to move on, people still go to work, days begin and nights fall and yet in our world, time may have stopped still, if only temporarily.

The sudden death of our Queen may also affect us in ways that we never expected. Right now when so many people are grieving, we may find ourselves experiencing 'collective' grief. Personally I'm grieving a woman I never met, a woman I never communicated with and yet I feel the loss of her presence more than I ever anticipated; she was for me, like millions of others, a constant in my life. She was a source of courage, grace, dignity and wisdom and so much more. She was like a safe custodian.

The loss of our Queen may also trigger sadness & grief around our loved ones who are no longer with us. This time may trigger grief in those whose loved ones died post, pre and during the pandemic. For those who lost dear ones during the pandemic, during lockdown and the usual (and very natural) end of life rituals of holding hands, kissing a face, saying goodbye were not permitted, their grief may well be stirred up again. It may be extremely painful to be reminded that those 'normals' couldn't take place - they may feel their grief is 'unresolved'. They may feel angry that they never got to say their goodbyes or that they never got to give their loved one the funeral they deserved.

Grief is an extremely powerful emotion, it's a journey like no other. It is incomparable. Our grief is as individual and unique as we are. There are no time limits, no rights or wrongs. And grief is not linear.

And this change of Monarch is something as a country most of us have never experienced before. Change is happening at a breathtaking speed. So if like me, you are feeling out of sorts; if you have a heavy heart, if you are feeling shocked and saddened then go with it. If Grief is anything it's normal & it's natural and we shouldn't try and fight it but rather lean into it.

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