Dealing with grief and bereavement beyond counselling

If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that sooner or later, we’ll all have to come to terms with losing a loved one. Here is a source to tap into and brace yourself for such an unavoidable and profoundly difficult inevitability.
Griefcast, as their tagline clearly states, it’s a podcast about grief and death. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a first glance it sounds like a podcast that you want to stay well away from, but it’s actually presented by comedians, so it’s much more fun and uplifting than it is depressing. Every week, it’s a funny, tender and very human discussion about the pain, confusion, and often downright weird and awkwardness of death.
So why should you listen? Grief is isolating. It’s scary, disorientating, and can take many years to come to terms with. Hearing relatable stories and experiences that may very well sound familiar to you is a beautiful reminder that you’re not alone, there is no right or wrong way to feel, there’s definitely no time frame, you’re allowed to relapse, and say you’re doing just fine.
Of course, everyone’s process of losing a loved one and grieving is unique, but there are common threads, as host Cariad explores. Having lost her father as a teenager, she often talks and finds common ground with guests about the anger, and sometimes even annoyance they feel. A key take-home message, make sure someone has your online passwords and banking details! As well as things that they feel guilty about, and why that’s okay. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and almost rude the first time you laugh after losing a loved one, or especially whilst a loved one is gravely ill. The host and her guests often talk about the strange limbo between receiving a terminal diagnosis and dying. The nervous anxiety, time standing still, and the one night you go out and forget everything for a few hours.
As well as sharing experiences about grief, the podcast explores the, if anything, even less discussed topic of dying. What it’s like to live with someone undergoing invasive medical treatment, and how it can take a while for the reality to dawn that someone isn’t going to get better. It’s packed with practical advice, not from doctors, instead from normal people who have been there. Things like the physically demanding nature of taking care of someone at home, the difficulty of communicating with doctors, and some things you might actually need to expect in your loved one’s final moments.
A podcast does not replace significant ways of healing and caring in times of loss and bereavement – like talking and social contact. Individual counselling supports people going through the grief process with a professional understanding of each of the phases that require specific care. The counsellor or psychotherapist offers kindness, compassion and empathy. Unfortunately in Hong Kong’s fast paced environment the aggrieved often receive sympathy instead and find it less helpful.
Griefcast helps to develop acceptance, by taking a scary subject that you’ve probably seldom taken time to consider, and making it normal. Coming to terms with your own mortality and the mortality of your friends and family is never going to be easy, but avoiding the topic entirely makes it far harder. Whether you’re dealing with a terminal diagnosis, the loss of a loved one or you’re not yet ‘in the club’ this podcast elegantly and sensitively lets you know what you might expect, reassures you that you’re not alone and opens the door to further healing conversations.
You can listen to Griefcast on
Apple Podcasts
BBC Sounds
You can also follow them and join the discussion on Twitter by following @thegriefcast.