There’s something about grief which makes it odd. Like death, it’s something we all experience at some point in our lives. Grief can be feared, it can be hated, and yet it is certainly expected. It’s something we often not only fear for ourselves, but also for others around us. We fear that we might not do the right thing, say what is needed or react appropriately in the given moment.
This is why I am so glad that I discovered Griefcast. I spoke about Griefcast briefly before in my podcast recommendations post, however Laura D and I saw an episode live recording at Barts Pathology Museum yesterday as part of the Funeral March events and I feel that I need to discuss why it is so important once more (at least).
Griefcast is hosted by comedian Cariad Lloyd who interviews a different fellow comedian each week regarding a bereavement or death in their life that has been important to them. It’s a frank, open and witty conversation that opens up all kinds of usually unspoken aspects of grief and breaks down the walls of taboo that have built up over time. Often it is a close relative who is discussed, but one of my favourite episodes was actually regarding the death of a dog. On Wednesday evening, Cariad was joined by journalist Dolly Alderton, comedian Ahir Shah and comedian Gráinne Maguire. The conversation this time was not focused upon particular deaths but an overall theme of death itself. Discussion included how you would want to die, what you might want your last words to be and what would happen at your funeral (including what song you would want played). It’s this kind of open discussion around death that normalises the death conversation and encourages more people to speak in this manner regarding it. It is exactly what Death Positivity encourages and I felt a real sense of that was what the audience represented in many ways. Here, to me, is the future of death culture where we no longer fear discussing it. Cariad, Dolly, Ahir & Gráinne
I won’t go into too much detail around what was discussed, you should (and will!) listen to the episode when it is released, however I would like to point out that something very important was highlighted. In respects to my opening sentences, it was discussed what could be done when others are experiencing grief or loss. In a very basic sense, we always feel that we need to solve the problem when someone is hurt and with grief over a death this is just not possible. What we can do, is support that person and face the fact with them that what they are going through is utterly awful but provide them with whatever they need.
In my line of work I meet a lot of grieving people. People react to grief in a number of, often unpredictable, ways and I really feared saying the wrong thing or upsetting someone unintentionally with my actions. Listening to Griefcast has really opened my eyes to people and their emotions in these times, it has allowed me to understand the process better. Sometimes the people being interviewed speak about going to see their loved one and their experiences, this has really helped me focus on what I can provide for the people I meet.
The lovely Cariad Lloyd and me after the show
If you haven’t listened to Griefcast already, then why not? I already recommended it ages ago! It’s available to download from all good podcast providers and I’m sure you will love it as much as I do. A huge thank you to all those involved in the Griefcast recording, and to you for reading as always. Keep your eyes peeled for an update this weekend about my busy week at work and how I’ve progressed (or how many brains I’ve now removed!).