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Grief is a universal part of being human, touching so many lives in so many ways. And yet it can feel incredibly isolating: 86% of people who’ve experienced a bereavement say they felt alone in their grief, according to a new survey by the Sue Ryder charity.
The main reason cited for this (by 81% of the survey respondents) was people around them not knowing what to say or how to help them.
As part of a wider campaign, the charity has today launched their new Grief Kind podcast – to open up conversations around grief and ‘help the nation better support loved ones through bereavement’.
The three-part series will see host Clover Stroud the journalist and author who has written about her personal experiences of losing her mother and sister, joined by celebs Candice Brathwaite, Lisa Riley and Pearl Lowe – as they share their own stories and talk about how loved ones helped support them through it.
“Right now, being open about grief has never been more important. It’s vital that people aren’t left to cope with their grief alone, but so many of us seem to find it hard to know what to say to or do to support someone who is grieving,” says Stroud. “It is something that can profoundly affect you and it is something that almost all of us will experience… The more we talk about grief, the more we learn as a society how to better support each other.”
Heidi Travis Sue Ryder’s chief executive officer, acknowledges that it’s very common for people to find it “hard to know what to say or do” when somebody experiences a bereavement.
“People who have been bereaved have told us that all too often, their loved ones and their support networks are so scared of getting it wrong that they do nothing at all. This is leaving many people feeling isolated in their grief,” Travis adds. “We want our Grief Kind podcast to provide people with advice, knowledge and confidence to help those close to them to navigate the toughest moments of their lives.”
The celebrity guests in the podcast open up about how grief doesn’t just go away – and ongoing gestures of support can make a world of difference. You don’t have to try to ‘fix’ it or take someone’s pain away (nobody can do that), but little things to show you care can mean a lot.
As Lowe, who opens up about her grief following the death of her father Eddie, says: “My main advice is to keep checking that someone is OK, even months later. Don’t leave them alone. Just turn up, bake them a cake, take around a bunch of flowers – those little things mean so much, just to know that you’re there.”
Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind podcast is available to download from all podcast streaming services from today. Visit sueryder.org/griefkindpodcast.
3 more podcasts
Here are three other podcasts that explore grief and bereavement, and might offer comfort and solace for those going through it, as well as useful insights for all of us…
This award-winning podcast series sees host, actor, writer and comedian Cariad Lloyd chat all things grief and death with fellow comedians.
As well as the pain of suffering a big loss, Lloyd and her guests – who’ve included Susan Wokoma, Robert Webb and David Baddiel – delve into the unexpected elements and ongoing adjustments, with raw honesty and dashes of humour.
This Too Shall Pass author Julia Samuel is a grief psychotherapist who has 25 years’ experience working with clients navigating bereavement. In 2017, she released her book, Grief Works: Stories Of Life, Death And Surviving – and the accompanying podcast series saw her chat through this theme with a string of guests. Samuel helps lift the taboos around grief and shine light on some of the ways it’s often misunderstood – including what it’s like to go through it, and ultimately survive it. While now finished, the series is still available to listen.
Terrible, Thanks For AskingUnapologetically honest – as the title suggests – this podcast was started by Nora McInerny after she suffered the deaths of her husband, father and a miscarriage in the space of a few weeks in 2014.
Sharing her own story led McInerny to realise she was far from alone, as people reached out with their own experiences of weathering heart-wrenching loss. Terrible, Thanks For Asking sees McInerny ask guests about their own grief stories, taking a deep dive into the things people so often don’t get to say.