Vikki, who is one of my sister’s best friends, is a remarkable human. She has a capacity for survival and also introduced me Nigella’s Nutella Cheesecake, which is both a blessing and a curse.

In recent years she has suffered far more than her fair share of loss (10 people in two years) I am honoured to have her write about such the deeply emotional and universal subject of grief.


  • One day you are laughing about the good times, the next the tears just wont stop.

  • You will be angry at everyone and everything. Because life is unfair.

  • Sometimes the grief creeps up from nowhere. In the middle of a workout, in Tesco’s, driving. It hits you like a punch in the gut when once again you are reminded that they are never coming back.

  • The lose of control over this in unbearable.

  • You will be tired. Grief is the most tiring thing I have ever experienced.

  • Sometimes you have to force yourself out and you will feel better. Other times you need to rest. Be kind to yourself.

  • For me, my dog really helped with the pain. With her I can just be without any expectations. It’s very calming. She also gets me out of the house and often I don’t realise how much I needed to go until I return.

  • Be kind to yourself.

  • Be kind to everyone.

  • You smell them. I don’t know if this is the same for everyone but i’ll be out in the garden drinking tea and i’ll smell my mum’s flat or my grandma’s perfume. I like to imagine they are with me in that moment.

  • Don’t be angry at people for forgetting you’re in pain.

  • Don’t be angry at people for not understanding how you feel. It is impossible to truly relate to something we have never experienced.

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  • If you’re in a rut, force yourself outside. Put on nice clothes and make an effort. Force yourself to socialise. Even if it’s just for an hour a week. Fake it until you make it. You will make it.

  • There is no time limit to grief. I lost 10 people in 2 years and it’s been 18 months since the last death. I still feel hard done by and I want them back. I have to practice acceptance. It’s not a choice I suppose. It will happen when (if) it happens.

  • You can’t control how you will feel. I used to think I knew myself so well that if tested I could predict my reaction. A zombie apocalypse, a sinking ship, a bomb, I knew how I would cope. Except I didn’t. I can’t. No-one can predict an emotional reaction to something they haven’t experienced. This is how we mature. These testing experiences.

  • Allow yourself to remember the people you lost. Look at pictures, listen to a song you shared. It’s ok to be sad. It’s also ok to laugh and feel good when remembering. All feelings are acceptable. Grief is complicated.

  • Talk about the person with your children. It will light a spark when you remember good times together and help the children to keep that person in their heart and mind.

  • Allow others to grieve for your lost one in their own way. Every relationship is unique and valid. It is not a competition about who was closer.

  • Allow them to be irrational sometimes. They can’t help it they are hurting and will come around. Give them time.

  • You will be irrational too. It’s ok. It’s not always going to be like this.

  • Don’t fight over the possessions your loved one left. Stuff/money does not matter. Not in the grand scheme of things.

  • Don’t get stuck in blame. Nothing can change what happened.

  • Forgive the person for leaving you.

  • Forgive the person that left for any unanswered questions. They will never be answered. This is a hard pill to swallow but it’s so vital to move forward.

  • Grief never goes away, it is part of who you are now. That’s not a bad thing. Use it to be more compassionate.

  • Use this experience of loss to help strengthen your relationships. Take time to be with the people you still have.

  • Don’t hold on to regrets. My therapist will not allow any ‘could ofs’, ‘should haves’ or ‘what if’s’. I am working on stopping them outside our sessions. It is quite powerful when I am able.

  • Try taking a balloon somewhere peaceful and speaking about the things you need to let go of out loud. When you are ready, release the balloon and imagine it is taking those things away.

  • If you are struggling so much it’s affecting your daily life, please don’t struggle alone. Find a counsellor or therapist or ring a help line. You are not alone, even though you might feel it. Remember people who specialise in these topics have usually experienced it too.

  • Don’t isolate yourself. I have hidden away from people for a long time and the guilt from that has caused unpredictable panic attacks. Even if it’s just a message, a quick cup of tea, give people you love your time. It will be worth it.

  • Use the arts. Music, writing, drawing, anything. Use it to express yourself. It helps! And it’s so much more fun than talking. Sometimes talking is overrated.

  • Grief puts strain on all of your relationships, especially with your partner. You are not the same person anymore, you had to change to cope. I was so busy nursing my wounds I neglected my marriage. It nearly ended. Thankfully we have counselling with relate and we are learning to communicate better and accept each other’s challenges. We are on the road to being stronger than ever.

  • Search quotes by CS Lewis regarding grief. So relatable, beautiful and honest. Or read the book ‘A grief observed’.

  • “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” – CS Lewis

  • If people in your life are having a challenging time, show them you care.

  • Evaluate your life, your job, the kind of person you are. It’s ok to make changes if there are things you don’t like.

  • We all make mistakes. Big and small. If there are things you can fix now, do it. Don’t let pride or stubbornness sabotage this.

  • Make memories as much as you can.

  • Take photos and videos. Videos are so important. You see the way people move and speak. It’s beautiful.

  • Life is beautiful.

  • Life is short.

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  • Reply anon July 31, 2018 at 8:29 am

    My husband lost his father this morning. I am at home with the children. I feel uneasy and a bit foggy sat here. Unsure how to get the day started or what I can do or say to him to make it less painful (I know this is not really possible). This post could not have been better timed. When the moment is right I will share it with him. Thank you x

  • Reply Jo July 31, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Yes, you can smell them! Time doesn’t heal it just teaches you to cope!

  • Reply denisefrombolton July 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    22 months on from loosing my beloved husband…this list is spot on.
    I didn’t have time for grief when he died, my feeling was life is too short for grief, I may not have much time left myself, but grief walked alongside me anyway, I couldn’ t escape it.
    It came in waves, cycles, the well know stages of denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance. Round and round, each time a little less painful. Now it’s tolerable.
    Yesterday the anger came. Suddenly, unexpectedly. Unreasonable reaction to a friend’s criticism.
    Today it’s passed. I’ve made amends.
    Today I remember the good times and smile.
    And life goes on. Still.too short and I’m making the most of it.
    Loving those I’m with, who love me, so when I’m gone they will have lovely memories too.
    In the end thats what we leave behind.

  • Reply Jodie July 31, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Grief is so tiring and changes in its severity and impact day by day. A great list that means lots to me.

  • Reply Ali August 1, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I lost my Mum a year ago and my Dad ten years prior. I have no other family apart from my husband and children. I’m torn between feeling life is short and wanting to just sit still and relive it all. I’m drained and lost whilst beating myself up for not running around doing loads of stuff with the kids and friends as it’s the holidays. I need to see a counsellor but the thought of repeating everything is exhausting me….

  • Reply yogacoffeeandnaps August 4, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Or as my therapist so aptly put it ‘Grief is fucking shit’ – and she wasn’t wrong (also therapy is magic) x

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