“In some ways, society actively manages to help us ignore death, sometimes help us to look the other way. It’s not nice to think about the fact that we are all going to die or that we will lose loved ones. However, I think that, from time to time, it can be helpful to think about our own death and losses and of others who may be in that situation. Let me share some statistics with you. About 80 people die every day in Ireland. At this very moment, there are families that are already grieving or will be grieving by the end of today. Research indicates that about 10 people will be deeply affected by every death so that’s about 800 people who will be grieving by midnight tonight. About 32,000 people die every year in Ireland, so over 300,000 people have lost someone close to them in the last year. It takes time to adjust and adapt to a close bereavement and some people may feel a loss deeply for many years. Greif does not disappear completely; we can change and grow around our grief. It is highly likely that whatever situation you find yourself in, there are people around you who are grieving. It is a startling thought. There are other forms of bereavement too, not just in reaction to a death. A miscarriage, a breakup, a divorce, loss of a job, loss of identity, loss of a pet, disablement/injury, loss of cognition… just to think that this exists in our society at any point in time… we might all benefit if we gave this some more attention. This attention doesn’t necessarily need to be official or structured. It’s just something we should keep in mind and acknowledge when we see it. We can acknowledge when people grieve. We can just simply sit with them and listen to them. That’s a very powerful thing to do, to listen, to let someone talk. You don’t need to do much most of the time. Being there for someone shoulder-to-shoulder is often the best thing you can do…”
Eric is one of @irishhospicefoundation Bereavement Support Line Volunteers. No one has to grieve alone. Our Bereavement Support Line is there to provide connection, comfort, and support. It is a shoulder for you to lean on. National freephone service 1800 80 70 77 available from 10 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday.