One of the most painful of experiences when you’re grieving is having a disturbing image of your loved one’s final hours, days, or weeks etched on your mind that you keep flashing back to. 
If your relative or friend died from COVID-19, our hearts go out to you. You may have seen your relative in hospital via a video call from their hospital bed. Your last image may have been seeing them in the back of an ambulance with an oxygen mask on. Your mind may have made up its own image if you weren’t able to see them. 
Stuck on a painful lasting image

Acknowledge the painful image 

If you’ve spoken to someone about the images in your mind, you may have been told to try not to think about them. This is almost impossible. Instead, acknowledge that the images are indeed hard and painful and a horrible final picture for you. 
Now think back to the first time you met and what they looked like that day. If your parent has died, think of a happy memory and what they looked like in that moment. 
We all have thousands of images stored in our minds of our loved ones. Some happy, some negative and sad. When the final ones are painful, it’s unrealistic to ask you not to remember what you saw or imagined. By acknowledging those unpleasant pictures instead of blocking them out, you’ll allow the other pictures to make an appearance, too. 
Acknowledging the painful pictures and remembering others doesn’t minimise the painful ones. By allowing yourself to think about them and talk about them, the painful pictures will start to subside. 

National Grief Awareness Week 

As National Grief Awareness Week draws to a close, we hope we’ve helped you to share your story, and listened while others tell theirs. We hope we’ve also raised awareness of bereavement and the support we offer. 
Yellow hearts have been present throughout the National Grief Awareness Campaign to help us remember those who have died from COVID-19. On Tuesday 8th December at 6 pm, landmark buildings around the country will light up yellow in support of National Grief Awareness Week and to remember those who have died from COVID-19. 

There is help available 

If you or anyone you know needs support after a loss, please signpost them to our network of Grief Recovery Specialists who are based around the country

Hear us #ShareYourStory 

Listen as three of our Grief Recovery Specialists share their stories using our Bereavement Box of Hearts. We hope it inspires you to speak with others and begin conversations with your friends and family. 
What do you think is the hardest life lesson for a person to learn? 
Tell me about a mistake (name) made. 
If you could have one last conversation, what would you talk about? 
About the Author 
Maria Bailey
Maria Bailey is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist and looks after media relations for Grief Recovery UK. She has spent her career working in public relations. Maria now lives by the seaside in Devon with her family and dog, and is a school governor and preschool chairman. 
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