In September 2023, Taraki’s Women’s Forum came together for a discussion on navigating grief. You can read a summary of the discussion here.
“We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend. C. S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” We can’t rise strong when we’re on the run.”
- Brene Brown, Rising Strong
In September 2023, the Punjabi Women’s Forum came together to discuss grief - what is it, how do we feel it and how do we cope?
We would like to thank our attendees for joining us - the profundity of your experiences is not lost on us and we are grateful that you were able to share these.
“A central process in grieving is the attempt to reaffirm or reconstruct a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss.”
- Robert A. Neimeyer on grief in Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart
We first explored the types of grief that can be experienced, including:
- the death of a loved one
- missing out experiences or moments
- the impact of being a parent-carer
- the unmet expectations of life
- life changes
- friendship breakups
- anticipatory grief
Grieving these situations showed up in different ways. For some, it was physical, with symptoms including weight gain, weight loss and extreme fatigue to name a few.
When attendees were confronted with grief also varied - for some, it was instant, while for others, it was a slow build up of suppressed emotions that only came through years after the mourning period had ‘ended’.
A shared experience was how some members of the South Asian community react to seeing someone undergo grief. For those experiencing physical symptoms, they often received derogatory or offensive comments about their appearance and that they should change this.
Members of the forum were at different stages of grief. Those in the later stages were able to share, with those in the earlier stages, how they were now managing their well-being:
- Listening to your body
- Allowing yourself the physical release of emotion
- Being gentle with yourself
- Speaking with someone you trust
Grief, it was acknowledged, never really ends. However, how we experience changes over time. In an episode of Best Friend Therapy focused on grief, therapist Emma Reed-Turrell speaks about ‘grief holidays’. This is the notion that while grief will always come back, there will be longer periods of time in between the waves, where you can ‘lift your head above the surface and notice life as well as loss’.
It was shared that you are often encouraged to ‘move on’ and ‘let go’ when grieving, rather than given the support you need. Attendees felt that the space provided via the forum provided validation of their experiences. There was comfort among attendees in knowing there are people in the world that can resonate and understand what grief entails.
We want to again thank those that joined us in October for this session - we have shared some resources below that may be helpful.
Grief.com - Headed by leading grief expert, David Kessler. For further resources and information about grief, grief groups and support.
Grief Works- Self Love & Care App - Available for all mobile phones. This app has been created by the renowned psychotherapist, Julia Samuel, and contains a 28-session compassionate course to help you navigate and cope with your grief.
thegoodgrieftrust.org- The Good Grief Trust - Charity run by the bereaved, helping all those suffering grief in the UK. Can help you find reassurance, advice and support.
mariecurie.org.uk - Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity, providing frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement.
ataloss.org - The UK's signposting website for the bereaved. They can help you find bereavement services and counselling.
dyingmatters.org - Dying Matters - Coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, aiming to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
You can find out more about the Punjabi Women’s Forum by visiting our Events page here.