Some months have passed since the death of Her Majesty the Queen and, as with any death, most people have moved on. But grief doesn’t have an end date, so how can we keep those still mourning in mind?
A few months on from the Queen’s death and a lot has happened.
The seasons have shifted, the residents of Downing Street have changed, Christmas is looming, to-do lists and diaries have filled up. In short, things have moved on. For most, that is. But for the family who loved her, the grief must still feel very raw.
After any death, the support that was so strong in that initial time of crisis can soon fade away. Not because people are bad or thoughtless, but because life is busy and some sort of normal life needs to return.
As time moves on, they may not know what to say, or if they should say it, wary of upsetting those whose loved one has died.
Clinical psychologist Dr Marianne Trent says: “The feeling of people moving on is something that those who are grieving speak of a lot. It can be a very isolating time, a kind of a vacuum, and they might feel like they are imposing on others.”
A few months is no time at all along someone’s journey of grief, but society has an expectation that they should be ‘doing ok’, getting back to some kind of normality or even going back to work.
But also around that two month mark can be when things get really tough, when the true trauma of what’s happened can start to make itself known and the enormity of the journey ahead kicks in. It is also when they might first trip on the first painful milestones without the person they lost.
So how can friends, colleagues and wider family continue to give the support that’s needed?
Talking about the person who died is a good start.
“Don’t be afraid that you will rock the boat,” says Marianne, author of The Grief Collective. “By speaking about the person who died you are not going to be reminding them about the person they’ve lost – they haven’t forgotten. If they cry, it is not you that is making them cry. It is the situation they are in. The fact that you are validating their loss may also be making them emotional, and that is a positive thing.”
Neither should the person grieving feel they cannot ask for help.
Marianne says: “As a nation, we’re very bad at asking others for what we need. We somehow expect other people to be psychic. But it is ok to ask people to cook for you or to pick up your children or come around for a chat.
“If you know a difficult milestone is approaching, ask a friend if they want to go for a walk. Walking and talking uses your brain as well as your body so it is great for working through things in your mind.”
There are places you can turn without any awkwardness. Marianne is an ambassador for the charity At a Loss which can help people find support, and is also a big supporter of another called It’s Time, for young adults who have lost a parent.
Knowing you are being thought about will comfort anyone going through loss. A phone call, letter or little gift, like one of our Remembrance Candles, will never go unappreciated, especially as we approach the emotionally-charged Christmas period.
We know that for anyone, including royalty, grief doesn’t disappear when the mourners leave. Life is busy, but even a little gesture of remembrance will make them feel seen.