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Shared grief can be a comfort

12 July 2021
plant seedlings growing up through rusted grate
Image: Markus Spiske

“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world — the company of those who have known suffering.”

Helen Keller

Grief is something we all face at some point in our life, and each of us undergoes a unique and personal journey through loss. The journey varies in length and intensity from person to person, but regardless of the journey you are on, sharing your grief journey with others can make the road a little more manageable.

Over the last year, we’ve all experienced grief in some way and our losses have been magnified by the distance from loved ones and the departure from normality. This collective feeling of loss has been challenging, but it is the collective nature of the experience that can also bring us some degree of comfort; more than ever, we are not alone in our grief.

Three ways to grieve together

Grief can be isolating, but it can also be an opportunity to connect with others in a new way and with the spirit of camaraderie and community that has arisen from our collective challenges over the last few years. It can be encouraging and comforting to know that there are others on the same path, and while every path is different, we don’t need to travel it alone.

Here are three simple ways to share your journey with others:

Share with family and friends

Your family and friends may be grieving the same loss as you. Invite them to honour and remember that special person together. Find ways to talk about the person who is no longer with us, share photos, and recall your favourite stories. Looking back on cherished moments can be a beautiful way to reflect on the meaning they had in your life and to keep their memory alive.

Honour loved ones through memorial services or special days

By sharing memories and tributes of loved ones through special events such as our Mother’s Day Remembrance Service or Christmas Service, you allow others in our community to connect with your memories, your loss, and with the love you shared. Sharing can help you feel connected with others who are going through a similar experience, and in turn, helps those who are new to the experience of grief to feel understood.

Join a support group

The simple act of spending time with others on a similar path and having the space to say ‘me too’ can ease a feeling of loneliness and isolation. Although everyone’s situation is different, having someone to share in the experience, understand what you might be going through, or even having someone there to listen can help.

Regardless of the type of activity that is right for you, the important thing to remember is that you never have to be alone through the grieving process. At times, you may want some time for yourself and to process things at your pace, but know there is support for you out there when you need it.


Additional support

If you need support while grieving and would like to look at some gentle activities with guidance, visit our Centre for Care & Wellbeing page. It is a safe haven where stories are told, connections are made, lives are honoured and care is anchored in compassion. The Centre for Care & Wellbeing runs weekly walks on Tuesdays through the beautiful Springvale Botanical Cemetery gardens. Walks will resume once physical distancing conditions have been relaxed.

For further support when grieving, please contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) for resources and guidance - 1800 642 066. ACGB the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia, providing support for bereaved and grieving Australians for more than 22 years.

If you are feeling worried, low, or struggling to cope, please call Lifeline or Beyond Blue for immediate help and support.

Lifeline

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone, and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.

24 Hr Telephone Crisis Support – 13 11 14

lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue has information, strategies, and expert advice to help support you.

Call 1800 512 348 24 hours / 7 days a week

For additional support during COVID-19, Beyond blue have created this dedicated space:
Online forums 24 hours / 7 days a week

coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au