A question we often get asked is “should I take my young child to a funeral?” At Grief Recovery, we believe that all feelings are normal and natural including sad or painful ones so it would be easy to say “yes of course”. The real question is whether your child is old enough to hang around relatively quietly while the adults do what they must do. If they can do that then yes, they should go. 
Crucially before that happens the child needs to know what to expect and what your expectations are of them so you’ll need to do some explaining before the event: 
 
It doesn’t matter what angle you come at this topic – the question “why?” is there. To those left behind when someone has completed suicide “why?” is the burning, spear of agony that destroys sleep, destroys relationships and often destroys lives. 
More than 6000 people a year end their own lives in the UK and that figure is growing. Why? 
Every 4 minutes in the UK someone attempts suicide – once every 90 minutes someone succeeds. 
These figures are shocking and bewildering to most who read about them, and a nightmare for those directly affected so who or what is responsible? 
The answers inevitably are complex and varied and it is too easy for those of us not on the frontline to think it’s tragic but there’s nothing I can do. Wrong. There are things we can all do: 
There aren't very many days when a thought about Kevin doesn't cross my mind. It’s not really surprising that there are still so many associations that trigger these, after all, we were together for most of my adult life. Familiar objects, tunes, posts from his family on Facebook, even certain foods will trigger fond memories or more rarely a remembered aggravation. The thoughts are not painful they are merely there. A fact of life after a death.Each year it is different, because each year I am different but I still notice the anniversaries – of the day we got married, of his birthday and of his death. 
Father’s day isn’t something I’ve given much thought to for many years – my Dad always forgot about it, he really didn’t see the point so quite often we didn’t bother. Somehow this year it’s different, so I’ve been pondering why. 
 
Timing is all – we’ve just had our first wedding anniversary – marking an event that Dad wasn’t around for because he sadly passed away quite some years ago which meant that he wasn’t there to give me away. In the run up to the wedding I’d noticed that I was thinking about Dad a lot and it took me a while to work out why I was suddenly missing him so much more than I had been. Then I realised. This was my first wedding without Dad there to give me away. 
 
Fred Hewson, father of Carole Henderson and subject of the blog
Yesterday I popped into the supermarket to get a few essentials and there it was – the massive display of flowers, pot plants & baskets and so on reminding shoppers “Not to forget Mum on Mother’s day.” I was hardly going to forget! Today is the first Mothering Sunday since Mum died last Spring so I’ve probably never been more aware that this weekend is the traditional time to say “thank you”. 
 
My Mum was a very pragmatic woman who didn’t expect to be taken out to lunch on this day “it will be too busy, expensive and service will probably be slow – better to go on a different day” she did have some expectations though – a bunch of daffs and a card and she was happy. 
All grief is unique. It’s something we say a lot around here. It seems obvious at one level, after all every relationship is unique. The statement sounds true when we hear it because no matter what our life experience is, by the time we are adults we have all experienced loss of various kinds. Even if we've never given it much conscious thought we know that we experience loss differently each time. There may well be common features of course. Reduced ability to concentrate or the urge to eat a bar of chocolate the size of Belgium, but no matter how hard some theorists try and push our messy human emotions into little boxes or “stages” it doesn't work. Grief IS unique. 
 
I don’t tend to have the radio on during the day. Some people find it helps them work, for me I get too easily distracted but at the moment there’s a radio on in the kitchen to help the guy building my new cupboards work and one tuned to a different station that the builder working outside has to help him through his day. 
 
This afternoon I experienced a bigger loss than my concentration. The news came over on the kitchen radio that Rik Mayall has died and there were audible reactions from all of us. The classics all made an appearance – disbelief, shock and immediate exclamations of “but he was our sort of age wasn’t he!” 
The last few weeks have been stressful. Having moved into our first joint home 6 months ago, Ian & I have embarked on a major refurbishment programme to turn Corner Cottage into our dream home. At first it’s fun, deciding what to have, then come the headaches of making the budget stretch to everything we want to achieve now there is the noise. Power tools, diggers, tinny radios, men in heavy boots tramping through my personal space is it any wonder I’m feeling a bit frazzled? To make it even more intense I work from home – there’s no let up. Yesterday I’m sat at my desk with bits of breeze block flying at me as a plumber is chasing some pipe into the wall. As I said – stressful! 
I have a bear called Boss. Not a real bear of course, he’s a teddy bear, somewhat unusual in colour as he is black & orange. He came into my life about 7 years ago after my husband Kevin died and I wanted something to help me think of him when I went to sleep and cuddling a photo just didn’t do it for me. A family friend offered to make me a bear from one of Kevin’s favourite shirts and Boss was born. 
As I write this my feet are getting warm. Barney my Labrador likes to sleep on them while I work. I really enjoy this physical connection especially at this time of year when it’s a bit chilly. But a few years ago I would never have dreamt I would be a dog owner I was always a cat person. Tiger the tabby kitten arrived in the house when I was 4. I don’t remember life without him – we grew up together. He was a very special cat. He walked us to school – going as far as the crossing on the main road before sitting and watching us safely into the gates before going home. When I was poorly he would come and curl up quietly on the bed for company and he was my confident. I told him everything. All the secrets, hopes, dreams & hurts that I couldn’t tell Mum & Dad I whispered to his beautiful striped face. 
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