Most of us will have to deal with losing a mother or grandmother figure at some point in our lives.
The sad passing last month of the Queen, who had reigned for more than 70 years, stirred up similar emotions, as many people mourned the death of a figurehead who had been such a constant in their lives.
In many ways, the late Queen reminded me of my own grandmother, the matriarch of the family. Women of that generation grafted tirelessly to hold the family together. They embodied respect and an ethic of hard work, and remain admirable symbols of feminine grace and dignity.
The public outpouring of tributes and flowers showed how much the Queen was loved and admired by many. Of course, there are those who are conflicted by the monarchy but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel sadness at the loss of a person.
This collective grieving is a normal way of processing the death of a hugely important public figure, even if you don’t personally know them.
But sadly, many bottled up their thoughts and feelings. Although it’s not always healthy to do so, perhaps they didn’t have a choice.
But we do. So, while we transition through this (or any) period of sadness or unpredictable change, it’s important to recognise if grief might be affecting you and find ways to release it.
Grief is a normal human experience during any loss. The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But these are not linear – you might move in and out of these stages, and it can affect all aspects of your life, including your body, thoughts, relationships, and more.
There is no right or wrong way to process grief, which can be painfully overwhelming, but it is possible to release these feelings using self-care tips:
Stay emotionally connected via messages, social media, and phone calls. Talk to at least one person every day – sharing personal stories can help to process feelings of grief.
Be mindful of your emotional experience. Allow yourself to feel your feelings even if it is painful. When sadness surfaces, acknowledge it and try to find comfort in predictable parts of life like nature or getting outdoors for fresh air. This is where keeping to a routine is helpful. Having set mealtimes, wake-up times, and bedtime gives you that much-needed predictability.
Try to limit how much news or social media you consume while grieving, as it may amplify feelings of grief. Be extra patient and kind to yourself. Honour your needs as best as you can. If you’re struggling with grief, talk to someone – there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
While it is important to mourn the loss, it is also vital that we do not dwell on the past and we look to the future with hope. I will leave you with a quote from the late Queen, “While we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
If you are struggling, contact Samaritans for free on 116 123