Today is National Grief Awareness Day. The death of someone close to us is an event we are all likely to experience. And the grief that comes along with it. For many of us, we don’t know what to do or how to deal with grief – whether it’s our own or the grief of someone we know.
National Grief Awareness Day is an opportunity to talk about grief, and loss, in an open-hearted way, knowing that others are going through the same thing. A chance to support those who have lost someone they love, and are now trying to pick up the pieces of daily life.
Bridget McNulty’s story.
When my mom died very suddenly – 13 days from diagnosis till death – I looked for a book that would help me. I’m a writer and a reader, and books have helped me with every stage of my life… Like medicine, they can ease pain and shed a little light, and make things slightly easier to bear.
Except, I couldn’t find that book. I could find religious books about death, philosophical books about grief, and texts about grief counselling, but nothing warm, empathetic, and kind. I wanted something easy to read because my mind was foggy. I wanted something kind because life felt so hard. I wanted something that gave me space to express myself – rather than told me how I should be feeling. But I couldn’t find it – so I wrote it.
The Grief Handbook: A guide through the worst days of your life is the book I wished I’d had when my mom died. It’s a collection of all the things I found most helpful when I was grieving – from poems to podcasts to excerpts from books and articles – along with reflections on my grief journey, expert input on things like PTSD and complicated grief, and exercises that might help move through certain emotions. Things like colouring in and journaling, venting, and externalizing grief.
This year, together with two very wise women (artist Clare Louise Thomas of The LOVE Kitchen, and Alignd and Swansong co-founder Shivani Ranchod), I’ve created The Grief Course – an online companion through the grief journey. It’s an online course with zero expectations, self-directed and purely there to provide support and guidance as you move through grief.
My hope, with both The Grief Handbook and The Grief Course, is that others who are grieving can feel less alone. We are all in this together – this messy journey of loving, and losing those we love. Let’s be as kind as we can on the journey.
Bridget McNulty is the author of The Grief Handbook: A guide through the worst days of your life.