Taking place 9th-15th October every year, Baby Loss Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. Stigma and silence often mean families feel isolated in their grief. COVID-19 has made this worse. 
 
Today, guest blogger and Grief Recovery Specialist Detola Amure shares her story. 
Detola Amure Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist
This is a time for compassion and empathy. As we go back into local lockdowns and the rate of infection increases, anxiety is also rising. Getting through the day can be hard enough for some. 
 
We are calling on you to take notice, listen, and comfort others without trying to fix, analyse or explain, or change the topic back to yourself. 
How to actively listen
To mark World Alzheimer’s Month, we’d like to acknowledge everyone who is living or has lived through their loved one’s decline from this disease. Our hearts go out to you. 
 
From the early signs, when you barely notice anything is wrong, to witnessing confusion, to the point where your loved one barely recognises you - all come with a layer of heartbreak and feelings of loss. Each appointment that brings another reminder of gradual decline can hit you like a tonne of bricks. 
Grieving the Living: Alzheimer's
“If only I could tell them I love them one more time.” 
“If only I could touch them again.” 
“If only we could have one more day together.” 
 
Wishes like these are incredibly common for grievers and are not only heard after a death, but also after a breakup, divorce, or a loved one moving far away. They may seem like factual statements, but they’re actually emotional statements that reflect the pain of longing. Two partners in a long-distance relationship, for example, may experience longing even though they can routinely talk on the phone. A mother may yearn for her child after she leaves for university. We may even have dreams where we reach out for our loved one and are never quite able to grasp them. 
Yearning for partner
“Emotional baggage” is a popular term implying that someone has done a poor job of moving on from past painful relationships. Unfortunately, it is often blamed for many breakups. 
 
As much as we like to accuse others of having too much emotional baggage, the truth is that all of us have it. 
Emotional baggage ruined relationship
How many times have you heard one of the following? 
 
“It’s really time you should move on, get on with your life.” 
“You should really go out and meet people.” 
“Don’t worry, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” 
“What’s in the past is in the past. Stop dwelling on it.” 
 
Even though this is well-intentioned advice, it’s rarely very helpful – if we could move on, most of us would have done it long ago! 
How to get over your ex
Lockdown has brought about a sudden and unexpected loss of income for thousands. Even those who have been put on the furlough scheme are still not in receipt of their full monthly income. Then there are those who have been excluded from government schemes, such as the newly self-employed, company directors, and freelance workers. Some have taken pay cuts, and others have lost their jobs altogether. 
 
This level of loss can be devastating. It’s the loss of your financial security, loss of perhaps being able to buy food, and could mean the loss of your home. There are no ceremonies around the loss of finances and the dreams that went with them. We are left feeling unfinished and lost. 
Loss of financial security in Lockdown
Father’s Day can be a very triggering time for many of us especially if: 
 
your father has died, even if it was a long time ago 
the father of your children has died 
you didn’t get the chance to get to know your father and they were absent from your life 
you’re a father and your child has died 
you’re male and a child you conceived was never born, or was stillborn, or was born but lived for a short time 
you’ve experienced infertility and there’s never been a pregnancy, as we establish relationships to the child we want and have hopes and dreams about 
Father's Day is complicated
As Fathers’ Day approaches, it is quite common practice, especially in early education, to make Fathers’ Day cards and even gifts. Sadly, not all children have a dad around. Their dad may have died, and it could be their first Fathers’ Day without their dad. Their parents may have divorced, and their dad might have moved away and lost touch. They may be in foster care and not have built up enough of a relationship with their foster father to feel comfortable with giving a card. 
Father's Day without a dad
As employees start to return to work, now is a good time to start planning how your business is going to support those who have been bereaved during Lockdown. 
 
Identifying employees who have been bereaved can be ascertained by line managers during catch-up calls, or via a simple email survey. This is important, as you may not have a clear indication of those who have lost friends and family members outside of immediate family. For immediate family losses, we have guidelines for writing sympathy letters here
Grief in the Workplace
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