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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ford

Saying Goodbye

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Photo credit: Pablo Lancaster Jones.

So many people I meet and support feel stuck with their grief and for a myriad of reasons. We can frequently feel this way when we weren't able to say Goodbye. When this happens we can feel robbed of the chance to say I love you, the chance to say all we ever wanted to say, the chance to apologise perhaps. We can be plagued by the 'What ifs, the 'If onlys'.

This is really difficult to cope with and maybe more so if the relationship was challenging or estranged. We may feel stuck with all those feelings; frustrations, regret and there may be guilt in the mix too. Sometimes this can feel like we're stuck on an ever-circling hamster wheel. We may be left with a feeling of incompleteness as well - with all the hopes, dreams & expectations that one day things could have improved, that one day things could have got better, but sadly this never materialised.

All of these feelings affect us emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically too. The Grief Recovery Method, is one of the many programmes available, just like counselling and therapy, which may be able to help you complete on all that you feel is incomplete. Finding someone you can trust to talk things through with, can be the start of an eye-opening emotional journey; one of awareness, reflection and emotional release.

October 10th was World Mental Health Day and we're currently in the midst of a Mental Health Crisis and there is also a huge push on Suicide Prevention too. Incomplete grief, overwhelming anxiety, extreme stress and guilt (amongst others) can be underlining factors in the deterioration of our mental health. Thankfully change is happening in the world of wellbeing and we need this to continue; we need emotional and mental health issues to be voiced and heard without judgement, without shame. We need it to be seen for what it is -being human. We need this acceptance everywhere; not just within families, relationships and friendships but in the workplace too.

Since the death of our Queen I have become acutely aware of the many social/public gatherings that have taken place and those that are planned for the weeks ahead. And I can't help but think back to 2020, when it was all so surreally different. When Covid 19 hit our world. When the pandemic brought with it 'Lock Down' and when so many of the dying weren't held or the grieving weren't hugged by loved ones. Delayed and unresolved grief may be one reason why so many people are suffering right now.

I also wonder if some of us may be struggling with the sheer unfairness of it all - the absence of everything we naturally assumed, and took for granted, would be possible; touch especially. Not being allowed to hold a loved one's hand, or being able to kiss them goodbye. To be with them, to attend the funeral; to be comforted and hugged. Too many people, just like the late Queen, at her late husband Philips' funeral, (still feels wrong writing that) had to sit alone on a church pew. There are no words. It was what it was...but it was brutal, unimaginable really.

When it comes to breaking down the stigma around mental health issues in our society we've got a long way to go, I think we're only touching the surface right now, but we are making progress. Kind words and compassion en-masse have never been needed so much. The grief and outpouring of sympathy shown since hearing of the Queen's death, clearly shows that the UK public do this extremely well.

And as for our amazing NHS frontline staff - they were the people who held the hands of our dying loved ones, when we couldn't. They were the ones that said Goodbye. And that couldn't have been easy. They were dealing with death and 'dying' in alarming numbers, day in, day out for many months. That's trauma. I think we need to seriously provide the right kind of compassionate support for them too. Again kind words, a listening ear and compassion have never been needed so much.

Thankfully things have returned more or less to 'normal' and have been for a while now. And with the normality hopefully came the opportunity for so many who were bereaved through the period of Covid restrictions, to organise another Memorial Service - where they invited as many people as they wanted to; where respects were paid, stories shared, Goodbyes said and hugs felt . It really is so important. Saying Goodbye helps with closure and that in turn can benefit our health, whether that's our emotional or our mental wellbeing.

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