JULY 2020

WELCOME TO OUR OCCASIONAL NEWSLETTER – We hope you are well and finding wonderfully creative things to do during this extraordinary if unsettling period of our lives. 

The Covid pandemic has brought a high level of distress and anxiety but at the same time shed much needed light on some of the systemic inequities in our society particularly along the lines of race, class and gender.  In many ways the coronavirus invites us to reevaluate what is important in our lives, and not unlike the trauma of grief, it asks us to divert our attention away from comfortable assumptions about a so called natural order of things and consider that when things get broken, (whether on a personal or social level) we will find amazing and truly imaginative ways of healing and repair. A poignant example is the brief appearance of a new statue on the plinth in Bristol where the slaver Colston once stood and was toppled last month.  Entitled “A Surge of Power” artist Marc Quinn created a life size likeness of protestor Jen Reid – it’s an iconic moment for Black Lives Matter and a testimony to the creativity born of generations of pain and oppression.  Imagery and symbols matter, the way we are represented matters and we acknowledge and find inspiration from BLM and the impulse to find more enlightened ways of expressing our own concerns, of talking about and representing grief.   Our new film project BEYOND THE MASK is a current attempt to do just that. 

BEYOND THE MASK – a new film project

We are truly excited to announce the production of a new film project.  BEYOND THE MASK is a series of ‘lockdown conversations’ Jane is having with bereaved friends old and new with the aim of discovering how they are now dealing with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.   “Grief challenges who we are” says Jane “I certainly had to rethink my own sense of self after Josh died”.   Now lockdown with its enforced isolation and new set of social anxieties has for many provoked similar feelings to the grief they experience following the death of a loved one.  What then can we learn from the bereaved as we emerge from (or continue to endure) this global crisis?

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE ….

Over the next few weeks we will be working on a number of short videos as part of this project, all with varying perspectives on the impact of the crisis on people’s grief and vice versa: 

  • For the recently widowed author Sasha Bates (Languages of Loss) the pandemic has felt like ‘that the world had caught up with my reality”
  • Disability activist Lucy Watts MBE worries that the drain on NHS resources will mean a judgement that her life may not be worth saving should she contract the disease.   
  • Our close friend and singer/song writer Jessica Carmody Nathan feels trapped by lockdown.  “There’s no distraction” she says to divert her away from the reality of her father’s very recent death.   
  • Yet bereaved parents Deirdre and Liam Nolan find the isolation of lockdown so much easier than the isolation they experienced after their 9 year old daughter’s death from cancer.
  • Dr. Kathryn Mannix, palliative care consultant and author of “With The End in Mind”,  is concerned about what the bereavement epidemic will look like once this is all over. 

And there are echoes of our own trauma – our son Josh died suddenly meaning we had no chance to say ‘goodbye’. Dr Mannix’s concern of an impending bereavement epidemic stems from so many remote deaths and the lack of any real contact during a loved one’s final moments.   We shall be exploring this and many other aspects that both grief and the pandemic share – isolation, mask wearing, that sense of time stopping, the loss of confidence, the challenge to one’s sense of self and of course the many ways people are coming to terms and adapting to this “new normal”.

A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES – online screenings with Q&A’s

As you will appreciate we have had to cancel all theatrical screenings of our documentary A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES during this period. 

Instead we have made the film available for ON LlNE presentations via the ZOOM video conferencing platform followed by question and answer discussions with us, the directors.  

If this is something you or your organisation would liked to arrange, please email info@thegoodgriefproject.co.uk 

Some comments from a recent online screening:

“Refreshing real raw and honest” 

“An amazing insight into grief.”

“This film was truly remarkable, beautifully  filmed and edited touching subjects which we find hard to talk about.”

“A huge thank you to Jane and Jimmy for their honesty, and for the emotional journey you’ve taken us on” 

ACTIVE GRIEF WEEKENDS – are they going ahead?

As you may know the current lockdown meant we had to cancel our Active Grief Weekend retreat scheduled for the middle of May.  We are really hoping the retreat in September can still go ahead. This is now  SOLD OUT with most bookings transferring from the May event.   A further retreat is however now scheduled for 21st – 23rd May 2021.   Please  email us if you want to join us on this weekend or to go on our waiting list.  If you want to practise your photography skills you can also join us in a new online project we have started ... see below for ‘you are not alone in this’ 

The two GOOD GRIEF FUNDRAISING CHALLENGES planned for this year have now also been postponed by one year. Both are campaigns to raise funds to help those on low incomes attend our retreats.  So the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge will now take place on the weekend of 30th July – 1st August 2021.    The Kilimanjaro Challenge is now planned for October 2021 – the exact dates still to be finalised.  Find out more about how to take part and how to donate by following the links below.

Bereaved parents and siblings can now join us on  The Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge on 31st July 2021.  Find out more here  or write to joe@thegoodgriefproject.co.uk  (Joe is Josh’s older brother and he leads the active element of our retreats)

The Kilimanjaro Challenge has been postponed to October 2021.  The actual dates are yet to be confirmed but the team of twenty is fully committed and while obviously disappointed the challenge has had to be put back are still very much raring to go. .  You can help them and us by donating to one of the many fundraising pages.  Find out more here 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS …
a photography project for you to join

Our photography project ‘You Are Not Alone In This’ now has 200 members with many contributing some amazing work that is both a testament to the emotional power of the photographic image and the value of sharing our stories of grief. The project is based on a private and carefully moderated Facebook group so that your contributions can be posted within a more secure and non judgemental forum. Jimmy says ” Knowing that you are not alone in this and can share images of loved ones in a safe environment is so important”.

To join the group please go to this Facebook page where you will also find a short video we’ve constructed from photos submitted so far.  We also invite you to share images on Instagram.  Please make sure you tag us with @thegoodgriefproject and #youarenotaloneinthis. 

Check out this compilation of photos we made – your photo could be here …

That’s all for now – thanks for reading

STAY SAFE STAY CALM STAY CONNECTED

With Love

Jimmy, Jane and all at THE GOOD GRIEF PROJECT