Help at hand for grief

KATHRYN KING AND SANDRA CROSBIE
Last updated 08:00 30/07/2014

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When you're grieving, some days are harder than others.

It's a fact Garry Wadsworth, whose wife Jocelyn Goodwin, 51, died at the scene of a crash in Palmerston North on April 6 this year, knows well.

Goodwin, 51, was on a training ride when she was involved in a collision with a truck-and-trailer unit travelling up Summerhill Drive just after 7am.

Wadsworth said the first month he just "did what you had to do", because there were things that needed his attention - things like organising the funeral, talking to police and dealing with insurance.

"Once that became more settled, it became a lot harder . . . Once people had gone and left you, you're just by yourself, and that's when your friends and family become really important."

That support, and knowing the couple's two university-aged children were coping, had support, and their studies had not suffered irreparably, had made a big impact on how he was able to deal with his grief, he said.

While he wasn't the type to sit on a couch and talk to a counsellor, there was a lot of support available for people dealing with grief, he said.

"Take what suits you as an individual, because everyone is different."

This week, more hands are reaching out to help those struggling with grief, during New Zealand's inaugural Loss and Grief Awareness week.

In recognition of the week, which began on Monday, Beauchamp Funeral Home is hosting a candle lighting ceremony at its chapel on John F Kennedy Drive, Palmerston North, on Friday at 6pm.

All participants will be given a candle and a message of hope. Following the ceremony, there will be a chance for people to mingle and talk to one another.

Palmerston North-based funeral director Emily Beauchamp works on a daily basis with people grieving following a death, but she is aware people experience grief from other life experiences such as the end of a relationship, loss of a job or pet.

"The purpose of [the] week is to help our community understand the challenging impact of loss and grief . . . to find ways to support grieving children, teens and adults and find the right help when it is needed.

"We want to let people know that grief is a natural, normal human response to any kind of difficult change or loss. It is a healing process and needs to take time."

Beauchamp suggested that those supporting others through grief and loss listen and do not judge people or take their reactions personally.

For those who can't make the ceremony, Beauchamp suggests they could light a candle at home, and she recommends the website grief.org.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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