Trevor Hayley


Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant

A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life

Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia



Supporting Grief – you may have heard it before

Grief and how to help #4

There will be times, many times in fact, when grief does not make sense, either to the person going through it, or the person that is supporting. Grief can be hard to define. We used to think of it as a linear ‘process’ type thing, that although you go back and forth through ‘stages’ there was a kind of end point to it. For some, this may be the right way of looking at grief, but for others, it is in essence, an overwhelming feeling of loss, that will touch all of our emotions; and some emotions we did not think we even had.

When it comes to supporting someone, we need to put aside our own thoughts of what ‘stage’ the person should be up to. If they are posting regularly on Facebook; photos, or memories, which is becoming far more common now, a lot, or just a little, that is the grieving person’s reality, and the way they need to work through their grief. If they have not dealt with the clothes, gone into the bedroom, sometimes even the house that is OK.

As a support, maybe, if you think it is alright, you could offer to help them through a particularly hard thing. You could introduce like “I just thought I would ask, and feel free to say no, but I was wondering whether you would like to visit the house today? I could come with you if you like.” Even if they say no at that point, a seed has been planted that may be acted upon when they are ready.

As I shared in a previous blog, it is OK to be silent. Sometimes this will be what is needed; be comfortable in it; as this may be a tremendous help to the grieving person. If you do find yourself in a situation where the person wants to talk, this is a wonderful privilege indeed. You are being invited into the ‘inner sanctum.’ The listening may involve being attentive to the same fears, emotions, stories and regrets over and over again. That is quite OK, as it is all part of being able to reconcile the past, with a new reality which is the present, to remember, and to be able to say goodbye. Always encourage talk, but never in the role of a counselor, but that of a supportive friend.

In closing this post, i stumbled across Cocoon – a short story about grief and loss. Completed in 2017, it portrays, quite beautifully the pain and confusion of the grief journey. In the words, of UK writer, poet and musician, Sh’maya, who was commissioned for this work:

It’s finally here: Cocoon – a film on grief and loss. The mighty Dan Stevers commissioned me to write this about 2 years ago, directing me perfectly in the vision he had. It was then handed over to the animation team who have since produced the most intimate, gentle, affecting visual. Dealing with this subject was an experience full of vulnerability, raw emotion and yet quiet hope; from the depth of pain, beauty grows; in the darkness, we find a new colour. What a gift this finished piece is!

The invitation, by watching this short film, is to enter, and participate in this journey called grief.

The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.

Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash



Trevor Hayley
Servicing Greater Adelaide and Regional South Australia

Phone: 0409 107 372


ABN 73 737 609 724

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