A shared letter, from one bereaved Father to another 

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Bereavement Articles

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*trigger warning. Mention of suicide.

At SLOW we are keen readers of Nick Cave’s ‘The Red Hand Files’. He is an incredibly talented and gifted writer and a bereaved parent.

For anyone not familiar with the Red Hand Files, here is some background:

‘The Red Hand Files began in September of 2018 as a simple idea – a place where I would answer questions from my fans. Over the years, The Red Hand Files has burst the boundaries of its original concept to become a strange exercise in communal vulnerability and transparency. Hundreds of letters come in each week, asking an extraordinarily diverse array of questions, from the playful to the profound, the deeply personal to the flat-out nutty. I read them all and try my best to answer a question each week.’

Nick Cave

A while ago (issue #270) Nick replied to a newly bereaved father, the Father spoke about his 16 year old son taking his own life on the 30th December. It’s a difficult and tragic read.

The Father ends with ‘In writing this it helps to feel the reality of where we are as a family. We will keep going but fuck me it’s hard.’

Nick’s reply has touched our hearts (all Facilitators at SLOW are bereaved parents or siblings) deeply here at SLOW.

Part of his reply says:

‘I want to say something, and even though it will doubtless mean little to you at this moment, I hope in time you will look back and know I spoke a kind of truth.’

Nick says of his sons, ‘I have come to understand that they still travel with me – they are with me now – but more than that, they have become the active participants in a slow but certain awakening of the spirit. It saddens me deeply that they never lived their own full lives, but though I would give anything to have them back, these departed souls ultimately served as a kind of saving force that revealed the world to Susie and me as a thing of outrageous beauty. I have found my relationship to the world enriched in a way that I never dreamed possible. I know this to be true, but I also know it is a truth beyond understanding in your time of fresh grief, and so I say these things with extreme caution and pray it doesn’t come across as a kind of glibness uttered into your despair.’

‘One day you will find Murray travelling with you, not just as a grief or a memory, but as an animating and guiding principle, allowing you to experience joy in a way you have never experienced it before. Be kind and patient and gentle and merciful with one another. Stay close. Hold firm. Forgive. Grief prepares the way. Joy will in time find you. It is searching for you, in the impossible darkness, even now.’

Find the full article here Not a question at all

Much of what Nick Cave says represents the true ethos and values of SLOW. We provide hope at what seems a hopeless time and place. We believe there is hope to be found in connecting with other bereaved parents and siblings, relief in sharing the pain of grief, and company in bearing the unbearable, walking alongside others who are living with the death of their child or sibling.

If you would like to find out more about our support groups. Please get in touch at info@slowgroup.co.uk or call 07532 423 674

Image from original post: House in Aasgaardstrand by Edvard Munch
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Whether it’s weeks, months or years since your child or sibling died you’ll be welcome here at SLOW.

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Select one of the highlighted dates and then follow the link below the calendar for more information.

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