Losing a family member

Content warning - this blog explores grief and loss. This can be a difficult topic so please reach out if you need to and check in with the range of services available to you on the Wellbeing Hub.

Author: Yasmine

My poppy passed away this week and it really got me thinking about life and death. I know that all seems a bit morbid but to be honest I have never really lost a close family member. Even though he had been suffering from dementia for the last few years, it still came as a bit of a shock. Especially for my dad.

Grief is a thing that we all have to deal with, I guess. So being the tech-oriented millennial I am, I googled ‘how to deal with grief’. Amidst a bunch of links to self-help guides and slightly misguided ‘home remedies’, I found a quote from Dr Bruce Litchfield of the Australian Institute of Family Counselling.

“Grief is the response to the loss of any significant object or person in our lives.” It is kind of odd to think that the absence of something or someone could affect us so much."Dr Bruce Litchfield

Moving on from this philosophical tangent – I think it is a reminder of how much we should value the people around us when they are there. To be honest though, I think my dad is struggling the most. It is pretty hard to maintain the aura of a ‘strong masculine figure’ that he was always taught he has to be when he is overcome by grief. Sometimes, it seems he needs to be reminded that it’s okay to cry.

So lately, when I find myself mulling over life, death and all things morbid, I am learning to remind myself:
- Sit back
- Breathe
- Go for a walk or talk to some friends and family
- Remember that what I am feeling is entirely valid
- Know that there is always professional support if I need or want

Where to get help
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helplines: 1800 551 800
Mensline: 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
Headspace: 1800 650 890

Or reach out to the Counselling Service here at uni.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Loss