Pink flower

The Queen’s death touches each of us in different ways…

Our Counselling and Bereavement Services Manager, Jane Cato, reflects on this last week as we all find our lives touched by the Queen’s death.

It is already one of those special moments in time when people say…where were you when the Queen died? And I wonder how you all are…those of you who are living with a terminal illness, those of you supporting your dear family member as you each live in the face of death and those of you who have lost a loved one and are living with your own grief and loss?

The Queen’s death has bought a 10-day period of public mourning. The TV programmes have a constant flow of images and stories of a very public expression of a nation’s loss. The radio stations invite us to tell our own personal stories relating to the Queen, flags fly half mast, public figures wear black and we have been given a bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral. I know many people have a great affection and attachment to the Queen and the Royal Family and I know too that there are many who have strong opposing views of monarchy and the public out pouring of grief.

What is so very important is that we value and acknowledge everyone one’s own individual reactions and responses for they are all real and have meaning and value.

Some people will identify with the personal loss of the Royal Family and gain comfort. Some people may feel anger and resentment at the attention and focus her death has had. Many people I have listened to have told me about how they are feeling and start to tell stories of their own losses. For the Queen’s death has also triggered thoughts and feelings around our own personal losses and grief.

I was talking to someone a few days ago who was bereaved in the midst of lockdown and there was no funeral, there were no flowers to buy and they were not able to hug their loved ones for comfort. They felt unsettled and confused at the resentful feelings they were having this week and as they talked they began to realise that they were comparing their own huge isolation in their grief alongside the enormity of our nation’s public expression of grief. They were reminded of their own loss and the pain of their grief and how different it was in the pandemic. It was a relief to them to acknowledge this and have a cry and a hug for the loss of their loved one in the midst of the world’s response to our Queen.

If you are finding everything a bit too much it is OK to switch the TV off and take time for yourself.

It is normal to feel the global enormity of the loss of the Queen and the profound shift we have in our country and to be impacted by it and it is also OK to step away from that for a moment and look after yourselves and your own experiences of loss. Talk with your family and friends and share how you are feeling…it helps. And if you find yourselves struggling then know you can call the hospice and speak to one of the bereavement team. Be gentle and kind and take care over these coming days.