One of the best pieces of advice I received from the SLOW group when I was in the deep, dark, depths of grief after my daughter died was… to be kind to myself. For me, being told that it was ok not to be at the coalface of grief all the time was really helpful. Grieving a lost child is hard, hard work so giving yourself a few minutes of respite from the pain is sometimes the only way to get through a day. And… the grief was always there again at the end of my distracting task…
This article from the fantastic blog ‘What’s Your Grief?’ gives seven helpful tips on how to practice self-kindness. Here’s some snippets:-
1. Don’t compare
Try not to compare yourself to your expectations. In fact, it can be helpful to let go of your expectations about grief entirely.
2. Accept that a wide range of emotional, physical, and cognitive experiences are normal in grief
Having a narrow conceptualization of what is normal in grief often causes people to feel like they’re not doing as well as they ought to or, worse, like they’re completely losing it.
3. Give distressing emotions and experiences the time and attention they need
The only thing that would help is to acknowledge the pain and find ways to take care of yourself and heal.
4. Ask for help
You’ve experienced a major hardship and now is the time for you to let others take care of you.
5. Focus on basic needs
If you are able to meet some of your most basic needs, you’ll be in a better position physically and emotionally to deal with your other more complex and nuanced stressors.
6. Give yourself a break
While many people think coping with life after loss is only about confronting and coping with difficult grief emotions, we believe that coping encapsulates anything that helps you feel better and gives you a boost of positive emotion
7. Love the person who died unapologetically
What we know about grief is that an ongoing love and attachment is totally normal! So, go ahead and talk about your loved one as much as you want, do all the little things that keep you close, and, by all means, love them apologetically.
The SLOW support groups give our bereaved parents a chance to talk to other parents that have been through the devastating loss of a child. The groups are open to all that have lost a child and parents can come at any time after the death of their child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
For those of you ‘further on’ this blog entry from Rebecca Goss touchingly encapsulates the imperceptible shifts of grief that bereaved parents feel and the elasticity of time when we think about our lost sons and daughters.
5th August 2008 – 2018
Ten years is too long, a fear that to others she may be fading
Ten years is her imagined height, and length of hair; the clothes she would be wearing this summer
Ten years is as an overwhelming bout of crying, when returning to the hospital to plant a flower
Ten years is like digging in the ground
Ten years is driving away from a commemorative rose and fretting it will die
Ten years is sometimes not thinking about her
Ten years is understanding that
Ten years is the time it’s taken to include her when asked how many children I have
Ten years is not a shameful secret
Ten years is her first sleep suit still under my pillow
Ten years is two books, a baby, a new house, another dog
Ten years is not feeling her let go of my hand or take hold of it again
Ten years is tomorrow
You can find Rebecca’s website and the full blog entry here.
Many of our members may know of the Rebecca Goss book ‘Her Birth’ from our SLOW library and many more have bought copies for themselves.
It’s a beautifully moving collection of poems about her daughter Ella who died at 18 months that has really resonated with our members. The book won, and was shortlisted for, many literary prizes and you can read a review of it here.
At our SLOW groups in both Islington and Streatham Hill we provide a library of bereavement books that members are free to borrow. Our groups are available for bereaved parents at any time after the death of their child. For more information on our forthcoming groups click here.
SLOW is pleased to announce its first comedy event where your laughter will benefit our charity.
Confirmed acts so far are SLOW member, the lovely Rob Delaney as well as Heidi Regan and John Robins (MC). Further acts to be confirmed later (and unfortunately John Kearns can no longer make it – apologies!).
The comedy night takes place at the Bill Murray in Islington on Wednesday 20th March from 6pm. Click here for map. Tickets are just £10 each.
Tickets will sell out quickly so please book yours now via this link
The lovely Rob Delaney was interviewed by Russell Howard about his grief and his beautiful memories of Henry as he approaches his one-year anniversary.
Rob talks about how bereavement groups can support parents that have lost a child and how it’s helpful to meet bereaved parents that are ‘further on’ in their grief:
I galloped to the first bereaved parents meeting, let me fill my emotions with people who are judging and who know what it’s like….I talk to other parents who’ve lost kids and they say that as time goes on, and it can take a lot of time, that what happens when they think about their child that died, the first thing they feel is really happy.
And he gives advice to the non-bereaved…. What should someone say to a bereaved parent?
At SLOW we know this is a minefield for the non-bereaved but in our experience we find that, more than anything, bereaved parents want to desperately talk about their son or daughter that died:-
What I would say to someone in that situation is, and it’s not one size fits all. If you know somebody who’s lost a big one, like a sibling, a child, a spouse or something. They’re, you’re thinking about that person, I’m thinking about Henry… so if you colme up to me and say “Hey I heard it’s about a year since your son passed away’. You didn’t bring him up, I was already thinking aobut him and you allowed me to talk about him and think about him and that to me is such a pleasure. I’m not tying to put a verbal band aid on anyone’s grief so you can also try and relax because there is nothing you can say that will fix it but you should acknowledge it.
Which reminds me of my all-time favourite grief quote from Elizabeth Edwards:
Rob summed up his grief by talking about how love and grief are intertwined:-
The reason it hurts so much is because of how much I love him. Grief and love are really weaved together. So, I should be sad right now.
At SLOW we provide a safe space to share and talk to other bereaved parents about the pain of losing a child. All bereaved parents are welcome, at any time after the death of their child. All our groups are facilitated by bereaved parents.
For more information on our forthcoming groups click here.
Need a new year’s fitness challenge? Come and run for SLOW at the Royal Parks Half Marathon!
SLOW has five places for the Royal Park’s Half Marathon in London on 13th October 2019. The stunning 13.1 mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Registration is free for each place with a minimum fundraising target or £400 per runner.
If you are up for it please contact Kelly Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org