Grief Awareness Month
The month of August plays a very important role in NALAG's annual calendar.
Grief Awareness Month is about improving grief education and encouraging the normalisation of grief in our communities. NALAG NSW acknowledges that this can have a tremendous impact on people's experiences of grief and healing.
Message from NALAG NSW CEO, Debbie Todkill:
"Welcome to 2023 Grief Awareness Month!
At NALAG, we strive to help people find a voice for their grief whilst learning new ways to cope and heal. Each August, our organisation celebrates Grief Awareness Month throughout NSW and encourages our communities to learn more about the various impacts of loss and available support services.
By improving awareness, we can reduce the adverse outcomes for grieving people at risk of physical, social, mental health impacts and complicated grief. An educated community is a compassionate community and so we encourage everyone to join with us and learn more about grief this August. Below, we've compiled a collection of resources that we invite you to absorb and share throughout your networks.
To those who are currently struggling to cope with loss, please do not feel you need to grieve alone. Our free, confidential grief support service is always available and our experienced, compassionate team are ready to offer you a helping hand in your grief journey. Visit nalag.org.au/support to learn more about this service.
Take care, and thanks for spreading the word this Grief Awareness Month!"
Featured on this page:
Grief Awareness Month podcast series
Quick tips for coping with grief
Helping someone who is grieving
A symbol of resilience
Just as over one thousand types of wattle bloom around Australia, so too do countless individuals experience grief across our vast nation.
Just as somewhere, somehow, children and adults are struggling with the impact of loss in their lives every day of the year, so too do wattle trees brace themselves against the elements that often threaten to destroy them when natural forces demonstrate their strength.
Just as people from all walks of life move through their passages of pain into a new and different way of being, so too does the wattle regenerate again and again, and grow to blossom and offer a sign of new life to all who view it.
with Cathy Banks, NALAG Senior Counsellor
Is there is a “right” way to grieve? There is no right way to grieve – nor a wrong way. There is only YOUR way. Everybody’s grief experience is unique, as a reflection of the relationship that we had with the person who has died. What we do know is that through the healing process of grief, our pain of the loss can be acknowledged and felt, so that acceptance of our changed world can start to emerge.
If a person is suddenly feeling happier, does that mean their grief is over? I don’t think that our grief is ever over. In time, we remember with less pain as we grow around our grief and redirect energy into our changed life. Grief will ebb and flow throughout our life. There will still be times that the grief is activated, where we are very much connected to our sorrow or memories of happiness together through anniversary or celebration, a sensory experience. We can experience moments of happiness even in the early stages of loss, and I urge clients to embrace these moments. Our life story continues beyond the loss.
Is it rude to ask a friend about their grief? No – It’s OK to ask - but if they are in acute grief they may not be able to respond just yet to put words around their deep sorrow or feelings. Just step in to help – be specific about what tasks are needed to be done rather than a general offer of assistance. Be there to acknowledge and witness their pain without anxiety around their suffering. Avoid unhelpful cliches (such as “be strong”, “it gets easier in time”, “he’s gone to a better place”) and observe the silences, have empathy, listen. Don’t avoid your friends who are grieving – they need you - and invite conversation about their loved ones.
Does grief only occur from a certain age? We all grieve – even babies that can’t understand the concept of death can experience loss of the absence of someone. David Kessler, an American grief researcher and educator, writes that if children are old enough to love they are old enough to grieve. However children don’t grieve the same way adults do. They don’t openly talk about how they are feeling. They can oscillate between intense feelings and play. They need honesty, support, positive modelling of coping, and routine. Their questions need to be invited and answered and their feelings validated.