National Grief Awareness Week 2021
From 2-8 December it’s National Grief Awareness Week and One Life are supporting The Good Grief Trust’s campaign to #spreadsomewarmth this year.
With over half a million deaths in the UK every year, at some point in our lives, we’ll all be affected by grief, and none of us know how we’ll react to the death of someone close until it happens.
The Good Grief Trust are aiming to raise awareness on all aspects of grief, encourage conversations about loss, and highlight the bereavement charities out there which can offer tailored advice and support at incredibly difficult times.
For us individually, as a group, and as a country to start talking about grief more openly, we need to challenge the many taboos surrounding it.
For lots of us, we have a reluctance to talk about death and this may stem from the fact we’ve never really been taught how to openly discuss and process the difficult and complexity of emotions that death, dying, and grieving brings. A lot of us have learnt how to deal with grief from observing, and a take-away for many of us is to ‘keep calm and carry on.’
The uncomfortable truth is while we can avoid talking about it, death is something that we all must face – whether it’s our own or others. So, we need to know how to have meaningful conversations, offer support to those suffering and share our learning.
There are no stages to grief, and everyone will experience it differently. It’s important to remember that no-one will ever get over the loss of someone they love, but they can learn to live with their absence. And over time, be able to celebrate the difference that person made to them, and even people who they never met because through you, and your memories and how you live your life, they live on.
We need to change the way we talk about grief and death. Our conversations need to become more open and honest and together we can do this.
The Good Grief Trust aims to encourage talking about grief in a more straightforward way, help make the pain a little more bearable for those in the early stages and offer inspiration and hope to the bereaved who are on their own ‘grief journey’.
This year their campaign is focused on #spreadingsomewarmth and they offer suggestions as to how you can support someone who may be grieving:
- Check in on your neighbours, friends and family
- Stop for a chat
- Pop the kettle on
- Go for a walk and talk
At One Life, we believe it’s important for us to start changing the way we talk about dying and grief. Thinking about our later-life allows us to be prepared for when we aren’t here, gives us chance to share with those close to us our wishes and how we’d like to be remembered.
By embracing the end as we do the beginning, we might just be able to see the world and live our lives in a different way. So, let’s not wait until we reach the end of our lives to have conversations. Let talk about it right now, together.
If you’re looking for support following the loss of a loved one, we’ve put together some helpful sites below. If your family or friend has a plan with One Life and sadly, they’ve recently passed away, you can reach our Bereavement Team on 0333 339 9399 (option 3). They’re on hand to help you in any way you need and can offer support at what we know is a difficult time.
- The Good Grief Trust – All of the team at The Good Grief Trust have lost someone they love – so they understand what you are going through. On their website, you’ll find lots of information, advice, guidance and support and they have dedicated section depending on the person you have lost. They also have a map of where you can find support, so you can find an organisation that’s close to you.
- Funerals Your Way – This book has been written by Sarah Jones, the founder of Full Circle. She founded Full Circle because she wanted to bring health and social care principles to funeral care and believes that with the right information and time, people can create funerals which and helpful and therapeutic. In her book, Funerals Your Way – a Person-Centred Approach to Planning a Funeral, she shares more information that may help people feel in control at a time that can be very challenging and bewildering.
- Marie Curie – Marie Curie provide care and support for those with a terminal illness. They have a bereavement support service for people who want ongoing support from the same person, over the phone. You’re able to access up to six telephone calls from a specifically trained volunteer. They’ll provide you with a safe space where you can openly talk about the things that are worrying you.
- National Bereavement Partnership Hotline – They provide a support helpline, counselling referral and befriending service for all those suffering from bereavement, grief, living loss, mental health issues and those affected by Covid-19.
- Silverline – Silverline provides support to older people. They offer a 24-hour helpline which is available 365 days a year where people can ask for information, signposting, advice or just talk.
- Mind – Mind has information about common feelings you may be going through while you are grieving. They also have a list of helpful places you can go for support and information about looking after yourself.
- Samaritans – provide 24-hour support, for anyone at any time, and for any reason.
- Childline – support for anyone under 19 years old in the UK. You can talk to them about anything big or small.