Grief is all around us at the moment - a sister to anxiety, fear, anger and sadness that is the pandemic. I recently came across another festival but one with a difference on grief and remembrance. This is attempting to create a Scottish version of the Mexican festival after Halloween that is their day of the dead festival. As the website says,

“People who have died remain a part of our lives – their stories are our stories, yet many Scottish traditions relating to the expression of loss and remembrance have faded over time.”

To Absent Friends gives people across Scotland an excuse to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about people we love who have died. To Absent Friends, a People's Festival of Storytelling and Remembrance is an opportunity to revive lost traditions and create new ones 

 In my volunteering, I work with men in circle to connect and share and support each other. Thus I am running free virtual co-gender event at the festival as I think that we all need to find safe spaces to explore the grief we hold within us. 

For more information on events, click here

In September, Cruse ran a campaign with Watermans Solicitors, to highlight the impact grief and bereavement can have on people’s lives. The campaign aimed to encourage those in experiencing grief to seek help and support.

With hundreds of us searching ‘what to say when someone dies’ in Google each month, you wouldn’t be alone in not knowing what to say or do if someone dies. Helping to ease this pressure, Scotland’s leading bereavement charity, Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, have shared their advice in finding the right words.

Here are Cruse’s five things you can say to help alleviate someone’s suffering after a bereavement,

  • Being there is sometimes simply enough: You might find that the person who is grieving doesn’t want to talk and that’s okay, everyone is different. For that person to know that you are there for them is often enough of a comfort for them.
  • Ask how a person feels: Asking “How are you feeling today?” is often better than “how are you feeling?”. We all grieve in different ways and can experience different emotions at different times. This might mean that today could be better or worse than yesterday.
  • Do you say sorry?: Saying you’re sorry can sometimes add confusion. Although more difficult to do, it’s often better to ask how a person feels about what has happened.
  • Don’t wait to be asked to help: Help to alleviate the pressure on someone who is grieving by helping without being asked. A person might not have the words to express their appreciation right now, but deep down they will be very, very thankful.
  • Share memories: Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died and to say their name. It will most likely bring comfort to the person who has suffered the bereavement.

 The grief awareness campaign was launched after solicitors from Watermans identified a need to support potential claimants who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one following an accident that wasn’t their fault. The campaign sees short animations of a wife grieving the loss of her husband, a young woman who has lost a sibling, a grieving set of parents who have lost a child and a man who has lost his second parent.