Supporting people through adversity: Positive Vibes Only
It’s nearly been 3 months since I launched Positive Vibes Only, a service set up to support people navigating adversity with a specific focus on cancer. I set out with one key objective, to support and help people shift their mindset through the challenges they are facing and create positive energy around the issue by utilising awareness, perspective and appreciation amongst other strategies.
Funeral Notice Examples
A frequently asked question of our specialist Funeral Notice Team is what to actually include in a Funeral Notice? It is a frequently Googled question too, as one of our most visited blog articles each month is this one on ‘How to Write a Good Obituary Notice’.
To help illustrate what goes into writing a Funeral Notice and how you can personalise them, we have found five good examples below that each demonstrate different elements that we see regularly in the Funeral Notices that appear on our site.
Creating a Memorial Garden
Creating a memorial garden can be a wonderful way to commemorate a loved one, while allowing you to heal in a meaningful way. It can be a place for reflection and peace, a place to nurture, and a place to be creative, all of which are beneficial for our emotional well-being. If you are considering creating your own memorial garden, we have gathered a few lovely ideas and tips to help you get started.
Find a peaceful spot.
Try and find an area with relative privacy so that your time spent there can be peaceful. If you have only a small area to work with, try and make it as comfortable as possible. Add some wind chimes or a water feature to drown out any external noises, or if your garden is on a balcony, add some cushions or hanging fabrics to soften the outside hubbub.
Find plants and flowers with meaning.
Certain plants hold traditional meanings. For example yellow tulips are for friendship, red poppies represent eternal sleep, forget-me-nots can represent remembrance, as can rosemary. Do some research and choose flowers that mean the most to you and/or the person or people you are remembering. Choose flowers they loved, or perhaps have their favourite colour as the theme. Take a look at our blog on what to plant in memory of a loved one for some inspiration.
Add some decor.
There are so many possibilities depending on the size and theme of your memorial garden, but some personal touches can really bring your garden to life. Using objects belonging to your loved one can be a lovely touch. Planting in a pair of old boots or watering can, adding an ornament or two, or reusing old planters or pots are all great ways to add a personal overtone. If they loved wildlife, you can add animal garden ornaments, or invite the real thing with specific wildflowers or a bird feeder. Design your garden with meaning, and remember there really are no rules.
Self-care ideas for the Spring
Spring is a time for rebirth and new beginnings; the natural world begins to wake up again after a winter lying dormant, the days get longer and the weather warmer. What better time to practise self-care? Here are some self-care ideas for spring:
Go nature walking
Spring is the perfect time to get outdoors and spend some time out in nature; flowers are blooming, trees are beginning to bud, birds are chirping.You don’t have to take up hiking and put a lot of time into it, just a walk around the block is enough to benefit you, and there is nature everywhere if you pay attention. Regular walks can benefit your mental health, as well as being a good form of exercise.
'The Laugh' - A children's book about love, laughter and loss
Written by Fay Evans, and Illustrated by Ayşe Klinge
Published by Flying Eye Books
Released 2nd March 2023
Yesterday I went to the funeral of my 104 year old Great Auntie. When it came to talking to my little boy about where I was going, I just… didn’t.
Was I protecting him from the sadness of a death in the family? Was I selfishly saving myself from having to have a difficult conversation? Maybe a bit of both.
It is sometimes hard to know what to say and when to say it, but that’s where books like ‘The Laugh’ really come into their own.
How to Talk to a Grieving Friend
When someone we love is grieving, it can be difficult to know how to talk to them about their loss and the subsequent grief they may be feeling because of it. Some people may try to make the grieving person feel better with well-meaning words of advice and comparisons of their own experiences with grief, but this can sometimes make them feel worse. Others simply do not acknowledge the passing, as they are unsure what to say.
Here are some ways you can speak to a grieving friend or loved one.
It sounds simple, but just acknowledging their grief by saying “I’m sorry for your loss” lets the bereaved know that you’re there for them and are thinking of them. Expressing your sympathy in this way can also help to start a conversation with the bereaved, especially if you’re unsure what to say.
Share your memories
If you have any memories of the person who has passed away, share these with the bereaved to acknowledge their absence and the hole they’ve left behind. If you didn’t know the deceased, encourage your friend to share their memories with you. This can be a cathartic experience, and helps the bereaved to focus on happy memories rather than dwelling on the loss of their loved one.
Have a conversation
Simply asking “How are you doing?” lets the bereaved know you’re thinking about them and gives them an opportunity to be honest and speak about their grief, if they want to. It’s important to acknowledge their feelings and their grief, and it’ll be a comfort to them to know you’re there for them and willing to talk.
Sometimes you don’t need to talk at all - just having you there willing to listen can be a big help. The bereaved may want to talk about the events leading up to the death, their memories of the person who has passed away, or even something completely different to take their mind off things. It will mean a lot that you’re there for them.
Ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Grief can be a difficult time, so offering to help with chores, shopping, cooking or funeral arrangements can be a big help to someone who is grieving. It gives them less things to worry about, and lets them know you’re there for them however they need you to be.
The best thing to do when speaking to a grieving friend is to be honest. If you’re not sure what to say to them, then tell them that’s how you feel. It’s better than not saying anything at all, and it’s something they’ll probably be able to understand. Make sure to take your cue from them, and don’t try to push them into talking about something they’re not comfortable with. Some people simply do not like to talk about their grief.
If you’re still unsure of what to say, why not have a look at our blog on gifts to give a grieving friend, and express your feelings through giving instead.
Thank you for reading.
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Coping with Grief on Mother's Day
Signs of Mother’s Day are everywhere at this time of year, with businesses advertising gifts and cards, friends planning what they’re going to do for their mum or wondering what their kids might do for them. It can be a difficult time of year for those who have lost their mothers, grandmothers or children. It’s much harder to deal with your grief quietly in your own way, like you could for the anniversary of their death or their birthday.
So how can you deal with Mother’s Day when you’re grieving?
Let yourself feel
You may feel a range of emotions when grieving on Mother’s Day, from sadness to jealousy and anger. This is completely normal, and you should not be ashamed of feeling these things, or shy away from them. Try to work through them, rather than bottling them up.
If you’re able to, try to talk about your mum. Share memories with siblings or other family members or friends who knew her, or even tell someone all about her who didn’t know her. Focus on the happy memories, rather than any regret you might feel.
Honour her memory
Do something that will help you feel closer to her, like going to her favourite place, making her favourite meal, or doing something she used to like. You could also light a candle in her memory, or visit her grave.
Practice self care
Instead of doing something specific for Mother’s Day, use the day to take care of yourself. Have a bath, go for a walk, read a book, watch your favourite series. Anything that will help to take your mind off your grief.
Ignore the day
There’s no rule that says you have to even acknowledge Mother’s Day if you don’t want to. It’s absolutely fine to just treat it like any other day. If you don’t want to do anything, then don’t. Stay off social media to avoid seeing others’ celebrations, and spend the day however you wish.
Grief on Mother's Day can be much harder to deal with, as you have to worry about the run up to the day as well as the day itself. Try to plan what you’re going to do in advance, and stay off social media if necessary. It can be difficult to avoid Mother’s Day advertising, but many businesses now allow their customers to opt out of Mother’s Day emails and marketing.
Thank you for reading.
Charity Spotlight: Claire House Children’s Hospice
Earlier this month we highlighted a few ‘Awareness Campaigns Happening in March’, but one we failed to mention was the ‘Butterfly Bake’ hosted by Claire House Children’s Hospice.
This event asks people to roll up their sleeves and get baking throughout the month of March, and then sell the tasty treats to friends, family and colleagues in order to raise money for the hospice.
What Can I Plant in Memory of a Loved One
Gardening can decrease stress levels during any difficult period in your life and is particularly effective in helping during bereavement. Planting something in memory of a lost loved one can help you gently move forwards, as you plant seeds and watch them grow. As Audrey Hepburn said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” and this is all part of the healing process.
Choosing what to plant can be very personal, but here are a few traditionally commemorative plants and flowers to consider.
Ten Gift Ideas for a Grieving Friend
It can be difficult to know what to do for a loved one who is grieving. Giving a gift offers you the chance to pay your respects to the grieving family, celebrate the life of the one who passed away by giving the gift of a memento, and even offer practical support to the family at a difficult time.
Here are 10 gift ideas for a grieving friend or family member:
Sometimes when grieving, it can be difficult to muster the energy to look after ourselves properly, so a food hamper is a great gift for a grieving person. You can add fresh fruit, snacks, drinks, and maybe a treat for the bereaved. If you know them well enough, you can tailor it to them by including all of their favourite things.