Father's Day

Every year I see my friends preparing for Father's Day, searching for the perfect present and rummaging the shelves for a card he'll love. Every year I get the same overwhelming sense of nostalgia and loss, missing the days where I was also hunting for that perfect gift. 

Every year I try to avoid the whole ordeal, but with modern advertising, be it TV, email, or just the local supermarket, the subject is impossible to avoid. Waking up to six new emails, "Just in time for Father's Day!", or "Your #1 Guy: Rad gifts for Dad!", means you just can't escape it. 

It's always painful being reminded of things you want to forget, especially when it's something you're supposed to be celebrating. My advice is: don't let it consume you. Talk to your friends, family, or even your pet, about how you're feeling. You don't have to hide how you're feeling, and you can try to remember your Dad and still celebrate the time you did have together.

What line would you write for your Dad in a Father's Day Card? 

Patrick's video

When children are bereaved, more often than not they're thrown into an unfamiliar environment and lack the skills to cope with a dire change of circumstances. This is one of the many reasons I believe in the absolute importance of profiling bereavement amongst children.

Adults, often have the best of intentions in their attempts to help ease a child's pain when it comes to bereavement, but quite simply sometimes they just plain don't understand. What appears right to them might not be quite seen that way through the eyes of a child, I myself experienced this on multiple occasions. As a result, the affected young people become misheard, misunderstood, burdened and ignored, resulting in any number of problems down the line. The issues surrounding childhood bereavement therefore must be documented and made known to the outside world so that a wider audience grasps a better understanding of the 'do's and don'ts' etc...

It was a privilege to be part of a short video production this year based on the work that Cruse and Hope Again do for young people, and it is my hope that it will reach as many individuals as possible and raise maximum awareness of an often underplayed and misunderstood issue.

Patrick

 

To check out Patrick's video, follow this link: www.hopeagain.org.uk/hope-again-videos/

Talia's Story; Part 2

I felt really lucky to have found people who understand me and are my age and I thought that everyone who’s been through such a tough time should feel the same. Nobody should feel like they’re going through it on their own. It’s taken me 3 years and the grieving still isn’t over, but I came to a personal milestone where I felt ready to talk about what I had been through publicly.

I decided to make YouTube videos, discussing various topics around going through bereavement as a teenager, with my main goal being reassuring people that they aren't the only one who’s been through it. I talk about emotions, the funeral, what I like doing when I feel down and more. It feels good to get it off my chest AND help others… WIN WIN!

The way society is today makes people shy away from talking about death and I think it’s definitely time that changed. I think it’s so important that teens and young people reach out and support each other through the rough time none of us deserve. Which is why I hope my videos will help encourage people to speak out and live their life to the full instead of bottling up their emotions. 

 

What do you think schools could do to make things easier for bereaved young people?

Talia's Story; Part 1

My name is Talia, I am 19 years old and I lost my dad when I was 16. I live with my Mum and 9 year old sister. My Dad’s death was really unexpected and I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I was in the middle of my GCSE’s at the time and with loss, school and general 16 year old problems I felt like my head was going to explode! I was offered help from school pastoral care but I felt like I was being talked at like I was a frail china doll, like they thought I was about to break or burst into tears any time they mentioned the word ‘Dad’. I know all the people helping me meant well, but being a teenager; it’s hard to believe adults at a time like that.

I felt like I was the only person in the world going through what I was going through. In school I felt like I stuck out as ‘the girl who’s Dad died’ and people looked at me differently. People also found it hard to talk to me and changed the subject if I ever started talking about my dad. I guess they were scared of saying the wrong thing. But I soon realised that people just cared about me a lot and wanted to be sure I was okay.

My mum found a support group for families like mine and I was so shocked at the amount of people that were a part of it. There were more people who had been through the same thing as me! We were invited on a group camping trip with the support group and I met teenagers of the families who were the same age as me. It felt amazing to finally have someone to speak to who fully gets it; I didn’t think such people existed! We could relate to each other about losing someone and other teenage things, such a connection felt incredible; one minute we’d be discussing if we viewed our parents body, the next we’d be talking about our favourite make-up, and that was TOTALLY NORMAL!

Part 2 coming soon!

Here is a link to Talia's blogs on 'The Teen Bereavement Project', a fantastic set of videos describing different aspects of grief and bereavement when you're a teenager.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqxKxFC_f9Y

 

What helped you feel less alone when you lost somebody?

Remembering at Christmas

Everyone has Christmas traditions, new and old. My favourite tradition in our family is our Christmas decorations. My siblings and I get a new one every year on Christmas Eve and now I have 22, one for every year of my life. 

Christmas 2006 was our last Christmas together with my Mum.  We kept by all our traditions of the day and tried to enjoy it as best we could. We all knew she wouldn’t be with us next year. Organised as ever, my Mum had bought decorations for us for next Christmas, letting us choose our favourite and wrapping them up to be opened in 12 months.

December 2007 came, and decorating the tree made me finally realise that my Mum wouldn’t be coming back for Christmas.  The day was very emotional and there wasn’t the usual festive cheer.  On Christmas Eve Dad brought out our ornaments and there they were with Mum’s writing on them for each of us: “To Bridget, love Mum”.  It hurt so much to know that was the last physical encounter I would have with her.

Eight years on, I think my family has reclaimed Christmas.  I am thankful every year for what I still have, and all the decorations my Mum bought me over the years have their own meaning and memories.  

I’ve been grateful over the last 8 years that we held onto those customs that my Mum enjoyed. We carry them on now, not only as her traditions but as ours, and it’s one way that we can remember her at Christmas with a smile on our faces.

What about you?  Will you write and tell us something about your own family’s favourite Christmas traditions?