With the death of Her Majesty The Queen, many people have been surprised at how the Queen's passing has impacted them personally. However, I am not surprised. Of course, we all had our own thoughts, opinions, stories of a Queen who had been in reign all of our lives (for the majority of us) but I believe her death has impacted so many for deeper reasons.
As we watched the news of The Royal Family rushing to her bedside, many of us will have had flashbacks to a time where we had received similar calls.
We know what it felt like to get a phone call that a loved one is desperately ill.
We know what it felt like to make a long journey not knowing what you would be walking into.
We know what it felt like to be sat at the bedside of a loved one taking their final breaths.
We know what it felt like to listen to somber doctors.
We know what it felt like to hear the words that a loved one has passed.
We know what it feels like in those surreal hours and days afterwards where it feels as though you are moving at an entirely different speed to the rest of the world.
We know how difficult it is to manage the grief of others when you are hurting so badly.
We know how hard it is to go through those situations and set aside any family politics that have occurred.
We know what it's like to feel overwhelmed and the one person you feel could help you through it, is the one you've lost.
Whether you lost a loved one recently or decades ago, experiencing another family's grief so publicly may inevitably trigger your own. So how do you cope with it?
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a step-by-step fool proof guide to grief, every grief we encounter is different, they compound, they have different meanings, and we carry them differently. However, there are some things which may help you right now:
Be honest - open up to someone about the grief you carry. Let someone know you are finding things heavy at the moment. If you cannot be honest with a friend or family member, please speak to someone who can help, you can message us or contact Cruse.
Ride the waves - grief seems to come in waves, in the early days those waves are forever crashing over you and taking you under but as time progresses, they become spaced further apart. Accept that it is normal to have a wave of grief no matter how long ago the loss occurred.
It's not silly - no part of grieving is silly. Being triggered by the loss of the Queen, hearing a song, eating a sandwich ... it may all seem insignificant to someone else but to you it creates a strong connection between you and your loved one and has deep meaning.
You are not alone - Look around, it may not always seem like it, but I guarantee there are others around you grieving too. In my years as a therapist, there are very few people I have ever met who do not have a broken heart from loss.
Be kind - TO YOURSELF! Extend the same compassion to yourself that you would give someone else who is struggling. Ease off, don't pressure yourself and give yourself what it is that you need in those moments.
Grief is one of the most complex things we can ever experience and we only get to experience it when we have experienced deep love for someone. As The Queen famously said in one of her speeches:
Grief is the price we pay for love
Remember that your grief is a reminder that your love for that person (or pet) did not die and will always be with you.