How to help someone deal with grief can be difficult. Should you leave people alone, or comfort them? Should you talk things through or leave them be? In truth, it depends on the person. Just ask. Bereavement is the worst time of life, yet people will tell you to ‘move on’. That’s silly, as bereavement can take years or even decades to heal from (sometimes, it never heals). Buddhists say that acceptance is the key to feeling better. Also see How to Cope When Pets Die.
- Good Grief is by a pastor, father and son who has experienced loss, and seen grief destroy others. God carried him through, can can help you too. Grief Works offers stories on the last taboo of society. Grief is a book that says if you grieve, you love.
- The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is the story of Yui, who loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, and wonders how to carry on. She hears of a disused phone box in a man’s garden, where grieving loved ones phone up to speak to relatives, to help heal grief.
- Modern Loss is a site set up by two women, both lost parents at an early age (one due to her parents dying to accident and illness within a short time, the other whose father and step-mother were killed in a home invasion). They talk of grief in a new way.
- The Grief Recovery Method is a new method (not therapy) that never says ‘time heals all wounds’. Read their Grief Recovery Handbook.
- The Sudden Loss Survival Guide is a book to help you cope with sudden death (accidents, murder, suicide).
- GriefChat is a service to use immediately, if waiting for bereavement therapy. The Good Grief Trust also has support lines.
- The Language of Loss is by Barbara Abercrombie, who found the language of condolence irritating, after her husband died: ‘My husband had not gone to a better place, as if he were on holiday. He had not passed, like clouds overhead. He wasn’t my late husband, as if he’d missed a train. And I had not lost him, as if I’d been careless’. She yearned instead for words that acknowledged the reality of death, that spoke about the sorrow, loneliness, guilt and anger, that perhaps would point to hope and healing.
I’m not alone in my life being cut short, and I think my time has been pretty good. Most people assume they will live into old age. I have come to see growing old as a privilege. Nobody should lament getting one year older, another grey hair or a wrinkle. Instead, be pleased that you’ve made it. If you feel like you haven’t made the most of your last year, try to use your next one better. Elliot Dallen Trust
Should You Visit Psychic Mediums?
No is the likely answer. A few are genuine and work by donation through local churches. But most are scammers and give ‘answers’ by going through pockets at ‘psychic fairs’ or look up details (neighbouring street names etc) through your Paypal address. Anyone who asks leading questions has got to be suspect. Many religions disallow visiting mediums. And it’s not good to have your grief, exploited for money. Visit a priest for a cup of tea and a chat. Or visit a bereavement counsellor (free or around £40 an hour). Most psychic mediums charge £100 or more: report scams to Action Fraud.
This doesn’t mean that the spirit of loved ones are not nearby. But you don’t need to be charged to be told to ‘look for white feathers’ (if you don’t find any, then you may feel something’s wrong). Energy never dies: it’s possible if you see a bird following you after a loved one dies, it is a sign from somewhere. Just be at peace with it, and leave it at that. There’s a fine line between Biblical Hellfire, New Age crap and peace/understanding of the afterlife. The key is finding the balance.
We can look forward to verified psychics working with governments to engaging with the departed to find peace and understand the nature of eternity, rather than pass on bland condolences or upsetting revelations from the Other Side. Or maybe they have better things to do. Derren Brown
Skeptics are not a collection of grumpy nay-sayers, gathering to reject any ideas which do not gel with our beliefs. If you tell me that you have a pet dog, I’ll probably accept that claim, just on your word. If you tell me that you have a pet dragon on the other hand, I’m probably going to want to at least see the dragon, before I believe you. The Merseyside Skeptics Society