A fairly recent  


On the 27th of November 2021, I lost a very dear friend.  This was not entirely unexpected as she had been ill for some time but still, I was overwhelmed with profound sadness and a feeling of emptiness.  Somewhere at the back of my mind I knew that these feelings would ease with the passage of time as I had been here before, most recently when another dear friend died in 2017 and before that, my dad in 2011.  While your life is forever changed when you lose someone you love, for most people the grieving gradually becomes less debilitating, and I have identified a number of factors that can help with this process.

The first one is Time.  I know it’s a cliché, but time does heal wounds, of the body and the heart.  In the beginning, it’s hard even to imagine living without the person who has been so much a part of your life, but as the days, weeks and months go by, you prove to yourself that you can.  Not to say you don’t miss the person, but you CAN live without them.  Tears of sadness and desperation turn to tears of joy and celebration as you remember and recall all the good times you had with them.  You can start to listen to your shared songs again and remember them without falling apart.

The second thing is Routine.  While many people are tempted to “throw in the towel” for a while, it is far more constructive to the healing process to get back into your routine as quickly as you can.  Getting up, dressing up and showing up helps you to feel better about yourself during a time that everything around you feels bad and unworthy of your attention.  Keep to your usual sleep and eating patterns, and get back on that exercise bike…these seemingly small things really can make a big difference.

The third thing is Innovation…something new.  Loss of a loved one often shows us how fragile and precious life is.   Doing something that you have been delaying or procrastinating over can provide you with a boost and in turn assist you in regaining the meaning in or of your life.  It can be as simple as trying out a new restaurant or having that tattoo that you’ve been thinking about for years.  Starting to save for something like an overseas trip or the car you’ve always wanted can provide you with some much needed direction and renewed sense of purpose.

The fourth thing is Compassion.  During the grieving process, the role played by your family, friends and colleagues can be very powerful.  That quick phonecall or even text message provides great comfort even although more tears might be induced.  I’ve realised that some people think they should just stay away and give you time to grieve by yourself, but I urge everyone to check this out with the grieving person before assuming this to be the case.  As you go through your grief, you can also let people know what you want and need from them.  Certainly for me, I don’t want to be left alone – although I may not want physical company, I have taken great comfort in knowing that I am loved and cared about.  I think sometimes people choose to just leave a grieving person alone is because they actually don’t know how to be so some self-examination here can also be useful.

And the fifth thing is to Keep moving forward.  The person you love is no longer here, but you still are and you still have dreams, aspirations and other people in your life.  You owe to yourself, your lost loved one and the other people in your life to keep going and make the most of the precious time you still have.    

We are living in a time when grief is possibly more prevalent than most of us have ever known.  If you are going through the process, see if these five things can help you and please share with anyone else you know who has lost a loved one or even more than one. 

If you would like to learn more about the complex world of mental illness and the effect that it might be having on your organisation’s success, please get in touch…I would love to hear from you.


Take care everyone.

Your Partner in Mental Health Matters @ Work,


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