Coping With The Loss of a Loved One: Why Society Doesn't Prepare us for Grief - Women's Health

Coping With The Loss of a Loved One: Why Society Doesn’t Prepare us for Grief

Meet the passionate change-makers shedding light on the topics they’d love for us all to talk about more. - by Alex Davies

by | Sep 6, 2021

This year, for Women’s Health Week, we are shining a light on the health issues we need to talk about more. So, the next time you’re after a fresh topic for the brunch table or *deep breath* another Zoom catch-up, might we suggest taking inspiration from these articles?

It’s hard not to feel fired up by the thought provoking words of these voices – from the period poverty fighter and inclusive healthcare advocate to the friends who are championing a more diverse beauty space. Empowering and enlightening perspectives, this way…

Sally Douglas (left), 35, and Imogen Carn, 33
Sally Douglas (left), 35, and Imogen Carn, 33

These friends met after the unexpected passing of their mums. With warmth, honesty and humour, the co-hosts of the Good Mourning podcast (@goodmourning podcast) want to support others going through loss and to lift the lid on grief.

Sal: “Before it happens to you, grief is just for other people. Society doesn’t prepare us for it. When we found ourselves grieving, it made us realise how much it is a taboo topic, because we aren’t educated around how to approach it. That’s what made us think, ‘OK, it’s really important to give grief a voice’ because people don’t know how to support [those going through it]. And to also let others grieving know that what they’re feeling is completely normal.”

Im: “We received a beautiful message from a listener whose mum had died. She wrote that when she listens to us, it feels like she’s sitting in the sun, listening to friends talk over coffee, and that she laughs and cries along with us. And even though she’s thousands of miles away, she feels seen and heard and that her grief is validated. Her message ended with, ‘You feel like a warm embrace. You feel like my mum.’ I just started crying. I called Sal and said to her, ‘Honestly, we’ve done our job.’”

Sal: “People often think that you don’t want to talk about your loved one [when you’re grieving]. They might assume it’s too painful. Everyone is different, but what we’ve found on the whole is that it’s the opposite – most people [who are grieving] really want to hear their loved one’s name. If you’re [messaging] somebody who’s experienced a loss, maybe put ‘no need to reply’ at the end. That lets them know the pressure’s off to try and think of something to say.” 

Im: “Grief is exhausting. One of the best pieces of advice I was given to get through the early days is to strip things right back and take them minute by minute. So, [say to yourself] ‘Right, I’m just going to get through the next minute and whatever I need to do – whether it’s getting up, having a shower or trying to have a small, nourishing meal.”

Sal: And don’t be afraid to seek professional support. We’ve both seen grief counsellors and it’s been really beneficial.”

This article first appears in the October issue of Women’s Health, on sale now.


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