Dealing with Bad News

This is not an easy post to write.  Please forgive us if anything we say distresses you but many people are dealing with some very difficult situations now. Friends and family may be ill and we can’t get to them, they may be in hospital and we are not able to visit. In some cases our friends, family and colleagues are dying - either because of COVID-19 or from disease, accident, event or old age.

Though it is important that we do not dwell on negativity for most of us through this lock down situation, for those of us dealing with this bad news and trying to make sense of such sadness (when we cannot do the normal things we would do like hug one another, take food and flowers to those impacted, attend funerals and sit together at wakes to celebrate the life that has passed) it is deeply affecting.

Our message to those of us who are outside this situation: please be mindful of those affected. 

Do everything you can to show your love and kindness at this time - in whatever ways are possible show that you are thinking of those affected and demonstrate it with thought and creativity.  We can still send cards or put notes through doors, we can make telephone calls or send texts.  And please don’t stop if there is no reply - grief is a deep process and your kind thoughts and words will make a positive difference over time. A warm text every few days will likely be heard and appreciated.

We have heard of actions like all neighbours and those on funeral routes coming out on to their door steps at eh time the hears is due to pass.  In another area a tree in the church yard was decorated with ribbons and notes of condolence so the family could see as they walked into church.  We should be creative and courageous in finding ways to show we still see and care.

Now, if you are the one receiving or dealing with bad news of a death, our hearts are with you.  It may seem obvious to say but you can and will get through this. No matter how deep your pain or sense of loss may be, no matter how important and central the person you have lost is, you can survive the grief you are experiencing.

At a practical level, we now need the other people in our lives so very much.  We need our friends and family to help us to grieve, to be part of remembering, to enable us to move forward with our loss.  If friends and family aren’t available, or even if you are surrounded by crowds of them, you might also find comfort in different groups that exist across the country, groups of people who come together to help one another, to listen, to understand and to share their own experiences.  These mutual aid groups are not about “fixing” anything, they are about space to share openly and honestly your experience of grief and loss, to express curiosity, to test thoughts and ideas to simply speak about the person you have lost in all their different ways of being.

Here are some links to a few different groups offering different kinds of space (including creative) to help you and where you are likely to be able to help others

a open invitation for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 or not, to commemorate the lives of their loved ones through creativity/ craft/ art and storytelling.

This organisation hosts peer support groups for those who have lost loved ones

Camerados is an organisation dedicated to helping all of us be together and to be more human, they host “spoon rooms” and “public living rooms” as digital and real spaces to simply be with one another and offer each other our support.  Though not specifically about grief it is a space to take anything you are feeling or experiencing so could be a really helpful way to move forward.

“The answer to our problems is each other”

It is also possible for you to form your own mutual aid/support group, creating your own space to talk, with others who have been through similar things (see our blog entry on mutual aid groups)

This site offers helpful insights and a gentle introduction to how you may be feeling and different ways you might want to respond

We also think this TED talk from Nora McInerny could be helpful for anyone concerned about someone close dying or dealing with grief.  It is warm and touching and balanced with humour and laughter, it offers beautiful understanding, practical advice and evidence of how to keep going:

People who have lived through extreme grief sometimes talk about feeling that they can’t go on, the pain is so difficult, this can be a dangerous time so as we said, keep people close to be able to help you and please think about completing a safety plan - see our blog post on Safety Planning

Finally, we should all remember that death is a natural part of all our lives, if you have not lost anyone close previously, at some point it will come.  The importance of friendships and connections throughout our life is clear, but at these moments, it is even more important.  Please reach out now.  We are social animals, we need good trusted friends to navigate lives that can be very difficult.  Together, we’ve got this!

Ok, well that’s us for today!

Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to cover in future blog posts, but most of all Stay Safe Well, Kind, Connected and CREATIVE!


Please don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us.  Keep smiling, waving and talking.  Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

Look forward to speaking again soon!

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