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Condolence messages that will help you find the right words

<h2>Condolence messages for every situation</h2> <p>When someone you care about has lost someone they care about, it’s important to reach out and show your love. “We’re hard-wired as human beings to connect with others, especially when we’re grieving,” says Abigail Nathanson, a licensed social worker and professor of grief and trauma at New York University. “Being able to talk about the pain and loss and receive support from others is an essential part of the grieving process.” While you may eventually engage in longer discussions, condolence messages are the first step after any loss.</p> <p>These messages of sympathy are a simple and beautiful way to connect with a grieving loved one. But even though death and grief are universal experiences, it can be hard to find the right things to say to someone who is grieving or know what to write in a condolence card—probably because there aren’t any words that can take away their pain.</p> <p>But it’s proper etiquette to say something rather than to stay silent. Otherwise, the person who’s grieving might think you don’t care.</p> <h2>What can you say to comfort someone who’s lost a loved one?</h2> <p>“Just like there is no one ‘right’ way to grieve, there is no one script for what to say to someone who has experienced a great loss,” Nathanson says. “However we do know that there are some things that many people find comforting and supportive.”</p> <p>When thinking of what to say when someone dies, Nathanson offers these tips:</p> <ul> <li>Lead with sympathy or empathy.</li> <li>Offer to listen (and then listen without interrupting).</li> <li>Don’t offer banal platitudes, like: “Everything will turn out for the best.”</li> <li>Don’t tell them how to feel, like: “Your father wouldn’t want you to be sad.”</li> <li>Reinforce your love and support for them.</li> <li>Offer to help in meaningful ways.</li> <li>Don’t offer advice unless they ask for it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to write a condolence message</h2> <p>“Remember that the goal of a condolence message is not to talk the person out of being sad or to ‘cure’ their grief,” Nathanson says. “It’s to offer love and support during a trying time.”</p> <p>Expressing condolences in person is incredibly powerful, but if you can’t be there with them, sending a condolence message is the next best thing. In this digital age, you have lots of options.</p> <ul> <li>Video messages offer the added bonus of face-to-face connection.</li> <li>Condolence text messages are an immediate way to reach out.</li> <li>Email is a great way to share longer thoughts, including pictures or memories of the loved one. They can also be read at the person’s leisure.</li> <li>Handwritten notes show extra care and are often sentimental keepsakes.</li> <li>Comments on social media show public support and allow you to interact with others who may be grieving the loss as well.</li> </ul> <p>Regardless of which method you choose to convey your love and support, keep your message relatively short. Grief can induce brain fog, making it difficult to concentrate on long messages, Nathanson says. And send your message as soon as you can (but better late than never!), and consider attaching it to one of these beautiful sympathy gifts.</p> <h2>Short condolence messages</h2> <p>To help you find the right words, here’s a list of heartfelt short condolence messages messages. Your kind words will be appreciated more than you know.</p> <ol> <li>I’m so sorry for your loss.</li> <li>My heart breaks for you.</li> <li>This hurts, and it sucks!</li> <li>You are in my prayers.</li> <li>My heart is with you at this time.</li> <li>I love you, and I’m here for you.</li> <li>I’m so sorry you are hurting.</li> <li>Sending love and peace.</li> <li>You are in my thoughts.</li> <li>May you find comfort at this time.</li> <li>Blessings for you and your loved ones.</li> <li>I’m with you during this difficult time.</li> <li>I hope you can feel my love.</li> <li>Love and support for you and yours.</li> <li>I wish I could give you the biggest hug.</li> <li>Sending you peaceful and loving vibes.</li> <li>Praying you feel comforted.</li> <li>You can cry on my shoulder.</li> <li>I’m devastated for you.</li> <li>My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/condolence-messages-that-will-help-you-find-the-right-words" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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Grieving dad fights for "ZaZa's Law" after toddler dies in his arms

<p>A grieving father has called for change after his toddler tragically died from choking on a grape. </p> <p>Brian Bwoga, a 44-year-old dad from Perth was at the beach with his two sons, Alessandro, four, and Zaire (ZaZa) 22 months, at the beginning of the year on what seemed like a normal family day out. </p> <p>But what was meant to be an idyllic summer’s day soon turned into any parent’s worst nightmare.</p> <p>“The weather was amazing, the boys were playing and it was just the perfect summer’s day,” Brian, who parents his boys with their mother Claudia, 39, told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/perth-toddler-dies-five-minutes-after-being-eating-popular-snack/news-story/0bfb598fe70bb5b47259cdc3b80c60cd" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“I was gathering up our things ready to go home. My older son Alex came up to me and asked if he could play for just five more minutes. I was carrying ZaZa, and I told them both to go and play together with their friends while I finish packing the car."</p> <p>“The next minute ZaZa is just running to me, holding his neck and gasping for air."</p> <p>“I jumped into action and did CPR, I put my fingers inside his throat and got one grape out. I was so relieved, I thought thank god I got it out. But I didn’t know there were four more grapes inside his throat.”</p> <p>The toddler continued to choke on the grapes, and Brian says his eyes started “popping out”.</p> <p>The terrified dad began performing abdominal thrusts to try and dislodge the grapes but to no avail.</p> <p>“I told one of the mothers to call the ambulance. I was terrified,” he recalled.</p> <p>“My older son was scared and asked me why there was blood coming from ZaZa’s mouth. I told him to go with another parent because I didn’t want him to see this. I was holding ZaZa and he was looking at me. I gave him CPR again and I tried so hard to save him."</p> <p>“He gave me this look and died in my arms.”</p> <p>“I left home with a beach bag and left with a body bag. It happened so quick. Within a few minutes he was gone. My son Alex is traumatised. He misses his brother so much and I don’t know how to fix it.”</p> <p>Grapes are a notorious choking hazard for children under the age of 5, as it is often recommended to always cut up grapes when feeding them to young kids.</p> <p>Sadly, Zaza consumed the grapes whole, and although the mistake cost his son his life, he doesn't place the blame on anyone.</p> <p>Instead, he wants to educate the public about the importance of cutting up grapes and is now fighting for <a href="https://www.change.org/p/zaza-s-law?source_location=petitions_browse" target="_blank" rel="noopener">change</a> as he hopes to introduce ‘ZaZa’s Law’ to parliament. </p> <p>This new law would ensure there are choking hazard labels on all grape packets and other food items that could be dangerous for small children.</p> <p>“I would hate for this to happen to anyone else. But I hear so many stories about kids dying from choking,” he said.</p> <p>“Ideally, I would like a warning label on all grapes and small foods to warn people to cut them up. Even a big sign at the supermarket for parents."</p> <p>“Not everyone knows this, but every parent needs to be aware of the dangers of food. I want ZaZa’s Law to come into parliament to get labels on everything."</p> <p>“We buy toys and they come with warning labels for things like batteries or other choking hazards. Why can’t we do the same for food?”</p> <p>The dad also hopes that a new anti-choking device, called LifeVac, might be more widely introduced in Australia and placed in public spaces.</p> <p>“Everywhere you go, shopping centres or beaches, there is a defibrillator on the wall,” he explained.</p> <p>“That is great, but we also need those anti-choking devices. It sucks everything up like a plunger and has saved so many lives."</p> <p>“If we had that at the beach that day, ZaZa might still be here.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Courtesy of Brian Bwoga</em></p>

Caring

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Family of Hannah McGuire make heart-wrenching decision

<p>A tight-knit community have rallied behind the family of Hannah McGuire, a 23-year-old teacher who was allegedly murdered by her estranged partner. </p> <p>Hannah's parents have made the heart-wrenching decision to reopen their family-run pub, the National Hotel in the town of Clunes, north of Ballarat, in the days after Hannah's death. </p> <p>As the hotel reopened, locals came together to lay flowers, buy drinks and share memories.</p> <p>“It’s the saddest thing, I can’t believe it,” one patron told <em><a href="https://7news.com.au/news/pub-run-by-family-of-hannah-mcguire-allegedly-murdered-by-ex-partner-reopens-in-clunes-north-of-ballarat--c-14266127" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7News</a></em>. “To the young girl, we gave her all the best."</p> <p>In the wake of Hannah's death, the women of Ballarat are set to join together for an emotional gathering to demand an end to violence against women. </p> <p>The Ballarat region's Samantha Murphy, Rebecca Young and Hannah McGuire have all allegedly died at the hands of men since the beginning of February.</p> <p>A rally will begin at Ballarat train station on Friday before gathering at Camp Street, family members of the victims, community leaders and family violence specialists will address the gathering.</p> <p>Organiser Sissy Austin, who was herself savagely attacked while on a run in 2023, said the issue was a national crisis.</p> <p>"Us Ballarat women, we're coming together to stand in solidarity, to feel less alone and to show the country that we're united," Ms Austin told <em>AAP</em>.</p> <p>"We're here to fight for our rights to live safely in our community for generations to come.</p> <p>"The Ballarat community aren't going to succumb to the violence that has been perpetrated in our town."</p> <p>Ms Austin said the three killings in a little over two months had stunned the community.</p> <p>"Women are living on eggshells," she said.</p> <p>"The most immediate thing that we need to do, particularly as women, is to unite and show men who choose to use violence in our community that we stand against it," she added.</p> <p>"Enough is enough."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Google Maps / Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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Grieving families targeted in callous gravesite robberies

<p>Four families in Victoria have been left devastated after the gravesites of their loved ones have been callously burgled. </p> <p>Maurice D'Alberti was visiting the grave of his son Adam at the Fawkner Memorial Park in North Melbourne when he noticed sentimental items had been taken. </p> <p>Adam passed away six years ago after a battle with cancer, and his father was visiting his son's resting place on what would've been his 10th birthday when he made the discovery that toy cars, along with an engraved ribbon and a photo of Adam were gone. </p> <p>"As a parent that's lost a child, we hang on to things, that they've touched, and things that they've loved," D'Alberti told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/families-targeted-in-series-of-gravesite-robberies/39898523-e8cb-41c8-a5d5-2feb044492ba" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p>"You can't get any lower. He's already been robbed of his life and now he's been robbed of his possessions."</p> <p>At least three other graves had also been ransacked, with the families feeling "great distress" over the stolen items. </p> <p>Jake Maurici noticed that precious items had been taken from his father Vince's grave, and wants to see better security installed in the memorial park. </p> <p>Jake was devastated to learn that the brazen thieves had taken off with a football scarf and pins from his dad's grave, given their sentimental value to both him and his father as diehard Carlton fans. </p> <p>"Things I get emotional about, going to the footy with my dad... we did it when I was younger," he said.</p> <p>"Having stuff that was with him is what I remember him by."</p> <p>"I think the security needs to be improved...my mother comes here late at night," Maurici said.</p> <p>The families are calling on the culprits to do the right thing and return the stolen items.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Legal

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Lilie James' grieving family breaks silence as body is found in manhunt for suspect

<p>Lilie James' devastated family have spoken out for the first time, following her <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/slain-st-andrew-s-staffer-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tragic death</a>. </p> <p>The 21-year-old water polo coach was found dead with serious head injuries at the gymnasium bathroom of St Andrew’s Cathedral School on Wednesday night. </p> <p>Her male colleague and ex-boyfriend Paul Thijssen is believed to be involved in her <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/tragic-new-details-emerge-in-alleged-murder-of-lilie-james" target="_blank" rel="noopener">alleged murder</a>, when he went missing at The Gap in Vaucluse, after reportedly calling the police informing them of a body on school grounds. </p> <p>A body has reportedly been found at the base of the cliffs in Diamond Bay Reserve, however police are currently unable to confirm whether the body was that of 24-year-old Thijssen. </p> <p>“A police operation is currently underway to retrieve a body in Vaucluse,” NSW Police said in an earlier statement.</p> <p>“No further information is available at this time.”</p> <p>Detectives are currently investigating the possibility that Thijssen had taken his own life, as The Gap is a notorious suicide spot, and Thijssen's backpack and an item linked to the alleged homicide was found there. </p> <p>On Friday morning, her family have broken their silence following the grim discovery. </p> <p>“We are devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful Lilie James,” the family said in a statement released by the police. </p> <p>“She was vibrant, outgoing, and very much loved by her family and friends. We are tremendously grateful for the support of our community at this difficult time.</p> <p>“As a police investigation is underway, we will not be providing further comments.</p> <p>“We ask that you please respect our privacy.”</p> <p>Students have been paying tribute to the fallen water polo coach with a growing flower memorial at the school's entrance. </p> <p>A few of the students she coached also told<em> 7NEWS.com.au </em>that she was an “amazing” and “encouraging” coach.</p> <p>"She always had a smile on her face,” one student said.</p> <p>“You will be in all of our prayers and hearts. Thank you for making PE so much fun, thank you for being an amazing and strong coach, and thank you for being there. We love you,” another student said.</p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS/Facebook</em></p>

News

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Grieving family speaks after three siblings killed in light plane crash

<p>The Nally family, who tragically lost four of their loved ones in a devastating plane crash, has broken their silence following the heart-wrenching incident.</p> <p>Peter Nally, aged 65, was piloting the light aircraft when the accident occurred, claiming the lives of not only himself but also his three cherished grandchildren: Raphael, 11; Evita, nine; and Philomena, six. The crash took place near Canberra around 2:50pm on Friday.</p> <p>In a brief statement released through the NSW Police, members of the Nally family expressed the profound grief they are currently enduring. Their statement read, "There are no words that can adequately convey the depth of sorrow our family is experiencing at this moment. We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from our extended family, friends, and the local community."</p> <p>"As we continue to grapple with this unimaginable loss, we kindly request that the media respect our need for privacy as we mourn and attempt to cope with this tragic event."</p> <p>Peter Nally, an experienced pilot hailing from Bunya, Queensland, had been flying his three beloved grandchildren back to his daughter Elyse's residence in Armidale, northern New South Wales, after a visit with family in Ainslie, a suburb of Canberra.</p> <p>The Cirrus SR22 light plane they were aboard lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after departing from Canberra Airport at 2:30pm. Disturbing audio recordings captured the desperate efforts of controllers attempting to establish contact with Mr Nally, to no avail.</p> <p>Within a matter of minutes, the aircraft crashed, igniting into flames upon impact at a rural property near Lake George in the New South Wales Tablelands. Tragically, everyone on board perished instantly, and the aircraft was obliterated.</p> <p>Emergency services swiftly responded to the scene after receiving a report from a witness who had seen flames emanating from the wreckage. Although fire crews managed to extinguish the blaze, there was no chance of saving any lives.</p> <p>Investigations into the root cause of the catastrophic crash are currently ongoing, with preliminary reports indicating a potential failure of the plane's built-in parachute system.</p> <p>The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a statement on Saturday, stating, "In the coming days, investigators with expertise in aircraft operations and maintenance will carry out a range of evidence-gathering activities at the crash site."</p> <p>According to the ATSB, it may take up to eight weeks before a preliminary report detailing the incident is made available to the public.</p> <p><em>Image: Glenbrook Catholic Church St Finbar</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Uber driver shares touching moment with grieving passenger

<p>A young Uber driver has shared the emotional interaction he had with a grieving mother.</p> <p>James Bade, a 23-year-old from Sydney, shares clips from his best Uber driving moments on his TikTok, capturing honest moments with his passengers. </p> <p>Bade's latest video has moved his followers to tears, as he drove around an older couple who broke down in tears at the end of their journey. </p> <p>James captioned his video, "This job makes me cry sometimes,” as the video shows the elderly woman telling James, “You know what? Look after yourself.”</p> <p>Her voice broke as she said, "You're a champion."</p> <p>The couple then left the car, before the woman began tapping frantically on James' window as he winds it down. </p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7279295029410057480&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40jamesbadeofficial%2Fvideo%2F7279295029410057480&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2F7648b1db68b747d38845e102a8a6ef9e_1694842956%3Fx-expires%3D1695945600%26x-signature%3DCvk%252FeflE7E2aY%252Fv15VOGr7IwGr4%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>“I lost my son last year,” she tells him through tears. </p> <p>“And you remind me so much of my son.”</p> <p>Bade unbuckles his seatbelt and hugs the woman through the window as she cries. </p> <p>The woman, still sobbing, holds Mr Bade for a moment, telling him to “take care”. </p> <p>“The world will take you wherever you want to go,” she tells him.</p> <p>The comments section was flooded with emotional messages, showing that the interaction obviously touched his followers. </p> <p>“You can tell she has so much love and nowhere for it to go,” one wrote. </p> <p>“Actually crying … how lovely,” said another. </p> <p>Another added, “This is just beautiful … you can just tell in her voice that she needed that so much.”</p> <p>Sadly, not every one of James' passengers are as lovely, as he recently made headlines after a rude passenger <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/uber-driver-shocked-by-elderly-passenger-s-intrusive-questions" target="_blank" rel="noopener">talked down to him</a> over his career choice and high school exam results. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Caring

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“Please go away”: Grieving mother slams “god-bothering” vandal

<p dir="ltr">A heart-broken mother has slammed a “god-botherer” who superglued a cross to her son’s memorial.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sydney parents Edwina and Anthony Symonds lost their son Sebastian, lovingly known as Seb, when he was just 10-months-old in 2018.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Seb’s death, the grieving parents organised for a memorial plaque to be fixed to a sitting rock located at a popular walk in the city's northern beaches – a place they frequented with Seb before his passing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Edwina told <a href="https://honey.nine.com.au/latest/sydney-baby-memorial-plaque-cross-super-glue-parents-message/348ed1ef-3155-4d56-977e-df84db43715b" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9Honey</em> </a>that she is used to finding well-wishing trinkets people have left behind on Seb’s memorial.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Previously we've had little bibles left there, or small rocks that have been painted by children, or feathers," Edwina said, adding that the family usually takes the items with them as they go along.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Edwina said one passerby has taken it too far, by supergluing a religious cross to the plaque.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's obnoxious," Edwina says.</p> <p dir="ltr">She was informed of the unwanted addition to her son's plaque by a friend, and shared a post on a local Facebook page to explain her distress.</p> <p dir="ltr">"To be fair, I'm Catholic and I used to go to church every week when I was younger. I don't have a problem with religion," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I think I captured it well with what I wrote. But don't super glue your religion to me or my son."</p> <p dir="ltr">Her Facebook post read, "To the God-botherer that vandalised our son's plaque by supergluing a cross to it!!! I imagine somewhere in whatever religion you choose to follow, there is some sort of rule that says, 'Don't be a low-life by wrecking other people's property.' If not, there should be.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Religion is a nice ideal. You are entitled to your beliefs and no-one should take issue with that. I certainly don't.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"I am sure you had some lovely thoughts when you were sitting with Seb like, 'God took this baby to a 'better' place, or that he 'had a plan' for this child, or even the classic 'everything happens for a reason.'”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Cool story, but please go away. Seb doesn't need you to 'save' him. He died already. He can't be saved.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Anthony also commented on the post, not holding back with his frustration over the vandal’s actions.</p> <p dir="ltr">"To the god botherer, Seb is looking down having a laugh at your kooky effort and giving you his swear finger. At 10 months old, his heart was as pure as it gets, though he has subsequently learnt the words f--k you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"A narrow minded fool, keep away from Seb's little playground. Keep your ideas out of other people's lives unless invited in, the end.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While many of the comments expressed distress at news of her son's death at such a young age, Edwina was quick to explain they are managing to live with their grief, and that Seb's death isn't the issue at hand.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm sure they had good intentions, but their execution is s***house," Edwina told <em>9Honey</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I haven't been down there yet, you have to walk one kilometre along the walkway to see it. I'll have to go to Bunnings to get some bond remover or something. But I have two young kids, so it's just another thing on my to-do list."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Is there a right way to grieve?

<p>Loss and grieving doesn't feel like a process when you're suffering it. The pain, often overwhelming, feels like it's with you forever.</p> <p>And to some extent, it is. Everything that happens to us in life – both positive and negative – becomes yet another part of our psychological tapestry: the web of experience and learned factors that makes up who we are beyond our genes.</p> <p><strong>What is grief?</strong></p> <p>Grief is the multi-faceted response to loss. It could be loss of a person, loss of an animal, loss of a home, of loss of anything else we are emotionally and/or physically attached to. In short, it's the emotional suffering we are forced to endure when something is taken away from us.</p> <p>An often-studied psychological process, grief is complicated. In renowned psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's 1969 book <em>On Death and Dying</em>, it was proposed there were five stages of grief that everybody goes through when somebody dies.</p> <p>Known as the Kubler-Ross model, these stages are denial (refusing to accept what has happened); anger; bargaining (the internal negotiating stage in which one goes through a series of "if only" questions), depression; and acceptance.</p> <p>In the early days of this theory, it was largely believed that this five-pronged process was linear, i.e. a person going through grief sequentially moved from one stage to the other. In Kubler-Ross' later life, she noted that the stages were non-linear – somebody who's grieving can experience stages in any order, can go back to stages they thought were over, or may not experience all stages.</p> <p>Many other mental health professionals have suggested alternative processes, including psychologist John Bowlby's model which pinpoints the phases a person may follow after another's death in more practical terms.</p> <p>His theory stated that we first experience numbness (a sense of disbelief of what has happened); yearning (characterised by that "I just want them back" feeling); disorganisation and disrepair (a sense of helplessness); and reorganisation (the process by which a person regains some control and hope, and begins to move forward.</p> <p>Though there are many other models of grief, these two are well-positioned to contrast with each other. Anybody who's been through – or is going through – grief may identify with one psychotherapeutic framework much more than the other.</p> <p><strong>What stops you grieving?</strong></p> <p>Adrenaline can stop a person from grieving. Some people become very competent after a loss and throw themselves into logistics whilst running at an emotional "boiling point", but never flowing over.</p> <p>Most people when grieving will understand it comes an uncomfortable, if not painful, sense of regret. It's as if you think you shouldn't be feeling the way that you are, and that grieving is somehow wrong or weak.</p> <p>In fighting against grief because you have some sort of stigma against it, grieving can be even more painful. Not only may you be (consciously or subconsciously) experiencing certain stages of grief as outlined in the Kubler-Ross, Bowlby, or other models, but you're also using up so much of your energy trying "not to" feel. Such efforts can wreak havoc on your mental health.</p> <p>Many people find that when faced with loss, they feel there's only one option: to be strong. This, too, can put off the grieving process, and often happens when we see ourselves as supporters or carers of others. We believe we "can't fall apart" for their sake; whether it's because we must care of children, keep a household or business running, be the "rock" for somebody else who is grieving, and so on.</p> <p><strong>Is there a right way to grieve?</strong></p> <p>In Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book <em>Option B</em>, Sandberg – whose husband died suddenly at 47 – uses psychologist Martin Seligman's "3 P's" approach to explain the importance of grieving.</p> <p>It' proposed that personalisation (finding blame for one's loss); pervasiveness (how a loss is perceived to affect your life); and permanence (how long you think negative feelings will last) are key in the human ability to deal with grief.</p> <p>This can mean realising that a death or loss couldn't have been prevented by you, it won't always impinge on all areas of your life and that pain won't last forever at the same level of intensity.</p> <p>There is no "right" way to grieve – every individual will have their own experience – but this "3 P's" approach can be key in the ultimate goal of loss or death: accepting that what's happened has happened.</p> <p><em>Written by Lee Suckling. First appeared on <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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Why mourning a pet can be harder than grieving for a person

<p>Many pet owners know that our connections with animals can be on an emotional par with those we share with other humans – and <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ben-Rockett/publication/274344384_Animals_and_Attachment_Theory/links/5f8552bb458515b7cf7c5851/Animals-and-Attachment-Theory.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">scientific research backs this up</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407507087958" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The key ingredients of human attachment</a> are experiencing the other person as a dependable source of comfort, seeking them out when distressed, feeling enjoyment in their presence and missing them when apart. Researchers have identified these as features of our relationships with pets too.</p> <p>But there are complexities. Some groups of people are more likely to develop intimate bonds with their pets. This includes <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=yyM5DQAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PA123&amp;dq=pet+attachment+and+older+people&amp;ots=g4NhHQwmag&amp;sig=82Jmnjag7NC40mxaITf18Vsjk8g#v=onepage&amp;q=pet%20attachment%20and%20older%20people&amp;f=false" target="_blank" rel="noopener">isolated older people</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ben-Rockett/publication/313459134_Fostering_secure_attachment_experiences_of_animal_companions_in_the_foster_home/links/5f85529e458515b7cf7c5848/Fostering-secure-attachment-experiences-of-animal-companions-in-the-foster-home.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people who have lost trust in humans</a>, and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616734.2011.584410?journalCode=rahd20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people who rely on assistance animals</a>.</p> <p>Researchers have also found our connections with our fluffy, scaled and feathered friends come with a price, in that we <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07481187.2021.1901799" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grieve the loss of our pets</a>. But some aspects of pet grief are unique.</p> <h2>Euthanasia</h2> <p>For many people, pet death may be the only experience they have of grief connected to euthanasia. Guilt or doubt over a decision to euthanise a cherished companion animal can complicate grief. For example, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288696026_Pet_loss_and_human_emotion_A_guide_to_recovery_Second_edition" target="_blank" rel="noopener">research has found</a> that disagreements within families about whether it is (or was) right to put a pet to sleep can be particularly challenging.</p> <p>But euthanasia also gives people a chance to prepare for a beloved animal’s passing. There is a chance to say goodbye and plan final moments to express love and respect such as a favourite meal, a night in together or a last goodbye.</p> <p>There are stark differences in people’s responses to pet euthanasia. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07481187.2012.738764" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Israeli research</a> found that in the aftermath of euthanised pet death, 83% of people feel certain they made the right decision. They believed they had granted their animal companion a more honourable death that minimised suffering.</p> <p>However, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1539639/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Canadian study</a> found 16% of participants in their study whose pets were euthanised “felt like murderers”. And <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Establishing-a-model-pet-loss-support-hotline.-Mader-Hart/ed169dfdb2d43c2c94bc3f4c617e92bb37c08402" target="_blank" rel="noopener">American research</a> has shown how nuanced the decision can be as 41% of participants in a study felt guilty and 4% experienced suicidal feelings after they consented to their animal being euthanised. Cultural beliefs, the nature and intensity of their relationship, attachment styles and personality influence people’s experience of pet euthanasia.</p> <h2>Disenfranchised grief</h2> <p>This type of loss <a href="https://neurosciencenews.com/grief-pet-loss-21950/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is still less acceptable socially</a>. This is called disenfranchised grief, which refers to losses that society doesn’t fully appreciate or ignores. This makes it harder to mourn, at least in public.</p> <p>Psychologists Robert Neiymeyer and John Jordan said <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Disenfranchised-Grief%3A-New-Directions%2C-Challenges%2C-Doka/93982a0299f424a451986bc2938751d909b5a98b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">disenfranchised grief</a> is a result of an empathy failure. People deny their own pet grief because a part of them feels it is shameful. This isn’t just about keeping a stiff upper lip in the office or at the pub. People may feel pet grief is unacceptable to certain members of their family, or to the family more generally.</p> <p>And at a wider level, there may be a mismatch between the depth of pet grief and social expectations around animal death. For example, some people may react with contempt if someone misses work or takes leave to mourn a pet.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2019.1621545?journalCode=rfan20" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Research</a> suggests that when people are in anguish over the loss of a pet, disenfranchised grief makes it more difficult for them to find solace, post-traumatic growth and healing. Disenfranchised grief seems to restrain emotional expression in a way that makes it harder to process.</p> <p>Our relationships to our pets can be as meaningful as those we share with each other. Losing our pets is no less painful, and our grief reflects that. There are dimensions of pet grief we need to recognise as unique. If we can accept pet death as a type of bereavement, we can lessen people’s suffering. We’re only human, after all.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-mourning-a-pet-can-be-harder-than-grieving-for-a-person-195514" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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4 surprising things your body goes through when you grieve

<p>We all deal with grief in our lives, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakup or job loss – no matter the reason behind it, grieving can take its toll not only on the mind but also on the body. Here are four surprising physical changes you might notice during your time of grief.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Irregular heartbeat</strong> – A study of almost 90,000 people published in the <em>Open Heart</em> journal found that having a “broken heart” mightn’t be so far-fetched after all. Those who lost a partner were found to be more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat and 41 per cent more at risk of atrial fibrillation, particularly around two weeks after the death. Given that this can be a serious condition (potentially lasting up to a year after a loss), sufferers should see their doctor if they have any concerns.</li> <li><strong>Weakened immune system</strong> – Older people who experience the death of a loved one are more susceptible to disease, according to research published in the <em>Age and Immunity</em> journal. They were reported to have poorer functioning neutrophils – white blood cells responsible for boosting immunity.</li> <li><strong>Anxiety</strong> – While anxiety is certainly a mental health issue, sufferers will have noticed how it can manifest itself physically, causing shortness of breath, an unsettled stomach, weight changes, decreased energy levels and shakes. These symptoms are all common after a gut-wrenching loss, but fortunately, there are many treatments available. Discuss your symptoms with your GP and they will recommend measures to take.</li> <li><strong>Skin issues</strong> – Mourners may notice stress-related skin issues after a devastating loss. “When we are anguished, in pain and stressed skin issues can erupt,” psychotherapist Amanda Falkson told <a href="http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/a26707/coping-with-grief-physical-symptoms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">NetDoctor</span></strong></a>. “I've noticed skin issues in people particularly when they suppress their emotions. In Chinese medical tradition, lungs and sinuses are linked to grieving.”</li> </ol> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Caring

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“That’s not my mum”: Funeral mix-up sees grieving daughter farewell a stranger

<p dir="ltr">A grieving woman has said a mix-up has meant the body in the casket at her mum’s funeral was actually that of a total stranger.</p> <p dir="ltr">When Dianne De Jager realised what had happened, her experience was made even more distressing when she was told by the funeral director to carry on with the service regardless.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recounting the event to <em>A Current Affair</em>, the Adelaide woman said it made her feel sick and “not want to be there”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Everybody in that room thought they were saying goodbye to my mum, and it’s not her,” Ms De Jager told the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It made me feel sick. It made me not want to be there.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her mother, Margaret Locke, was due to be farewelled at the service on August 1 at the Enfield Memorial Park, with around 100 people gathering for the service.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, when Ms De Jager looked inside the casket one last time, she realised a terrible mistake had been made.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That’s not my mum,” she told the funeral director.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He said, 'that's definitely Margaret, she was tagged as Margaret', and I said, 'this is not my mum'," she recalled.</p> <p dir="ltr">He only relented when Ms De Jager showed him a recent photo of her late mum.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I zoomed the face in and I put it next to the lady in that coffin and I said, 'that is not my mum'.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the mistake, the funeral director suggested they carry on with the service while the mix-up was investigated.</p> <p dir="ltr">"How can you say goodbye to your mum when it's not her?” Ms De Jager said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"None of that eulogy really sunk in, or hit me because I wasn't really listening properly, I wasn't there. It just made me feel so empty and blank.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement shared with <em>A Current Affair</em>, Clarke Family Funerals admitted a “mistake” was made with Ms Locke’s service and that the decision to continue the service was an error.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We have always striven to provide beautiful and respectful funerals that offer a lasting tribute but we fell well short of our own high standards,” they said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This situation is deeply regrettable and we continue to offer our sincerest apologies to the family.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This decision was made under the stress of the situation and on reflection we should have sought a different outcome."</p> <p dir="ltr">Adrien Barrett, the president of the Australian Funeral Directors Association, said that multiple measures, such as various tags and checks, were used to ensure the person in a casket was the person being mourned.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, if there is any doubt, he said the first thing to do would be to stop the funeral.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The first thing that would need to happen would be that the funeral service should be stopped," Mr Barrett said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The person whose funeral it's supposed to be isn't at the funeral.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We also have a person whose funeral it's not supposed to be at the funeral."</p> <p dir="ltr">After the service, Ms Locke was located and cremated, with the De Jager family then presented with her ashes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms De Jager said all she could do during the service was make the best of the situation.</p> <p dir="ltr">"So I said goodbye to this lady, I said 'rest in peace' and 'I hope you find your family'".</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b43fb70-7fff-9f25-a5d0-8a1961d4f844"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Channel 9</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Grieving stepdad slams new bride after "delusional" request

<p>A new bride has been slammed online by her stepfather, after demanding compensation from guests who missed her wedding ceremony to attend a funeral. </p> <p>The grieving man shared the story of his wife's daughter on Reddit, explaining the "delusional" decisions of his 27-year-old stepdaughter. </p> <p>Posting on Reddit's "Am I the A**hole?" thread, he wrote, "My stepdaughter Tara, 27, recently got married."</p> <p>"Six days before her wedding my father died unexpectedly. The people invited to her wedding from my family was myself, my two kids, my brother, and one of my sisters."</p> <p>The man explained that he had flown to another state to see his mother after hearing of his father's passing, while his wife stayed at home to help prepare for the upcoming wedding. </p> <p>"[My family] were aware of Tara's wedding and tried to be mindful of it and also give our family time to get in town for the funeral," he explained.</p> <p>"The funeral home serves the area my parents live in and the dates available for service were 3 before the wedding, day of the wedding, day after the wedding. They went with the day after."</p> <p>He went on to explain how his siblings understandably skipped the wedding due to the logistics of being able to attend both the wedding and the funeral that were happening several hours away. </p> <p>"My kids and I stayed for Tara's wedding, took photos, and left right after the ceremony since it was a 6-hour drive, and airline prices were insanely high and I'd already dropped a good bit of money on the first flight after dad died," he said.</p> <p>"Day after the funeral, those of us who missed the wedding were sent requests for $125 by Tara as a refund for meal and favor bags," he shared.</p> <p>"My kids and siblings asked if she was serious and I told them I'd call her to find out. When I called, she said she was serious and we had cost her money and owed her for missing her wedding."</p> <p>The man said that both his wife and his stepdaughter said the group should have left after the ceremony, despite the man already giving countless reasons why that was not possible. </p> <p>"My brother and sister couldn't afford two plane tickets or get that many days off, and they had sent their apologies and wedding gifts to her. I also pointed out we couldn't all fit in one car to drive there," he continued.</p> <p>"My wife insists I should pay all the refunds and my mother shouldn't have scheduled a funeral the day after the wedding and worse for me to leave on Tara's wedding day."</p> <p>When he asked Reddit users for their opinion on if he and his family were in the wrong, they did not hold back.</p> <p>"I am really shocked by how calm you seem about this. This was unthinkably callous on her part," one wrote.</p> <p>One person put it bluntly, commenting: "There are a few reasons why missing a wedding after rsvp'ing yes is acceptable and that includes a death in the family/funeral. There is something seriously wrong with your wife and step daughter."</p> <p>"That was your dad's funeral. She's delusional and so is your wife," added another.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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8 key steps to healing after loss

<p dir="ltr">Healing may mean different things to different people and may also look different, but it has one common theme: getting better. Healing may seem simple, yet it is a complex process that often involves many intricate aspects and phases coming together in perfect synchronicity.</p> <p dir="ltr">In straightforward terms, healing means finding relief and getting and feeling better, which can be felt physically, emotionally and spiritually. </p> <p dir="ltr">Healing is not an easy process and nobody knows how long it will take for any individual to start feeling better. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, one thing is for sure: healing needs your active participation, and possibly even your complete devotion. </p> <p dir="ltr">It can be hard work and it requires intention, focus, support, faith, understanding, compassion, empathy and a large dose of love. </p> <p dir="ltr">Healing from any type of loss is a lifelong commitment. Although the work of healing yourself is always ongoing, it can be seen as a promise to be restored, a pledge to feel joy again.</p> <p dir="ltr">Through my exploration into healing my own trauma and working with grief I have found eight key elements that are vital in helping to move forward and embrace the joy of living. </p> <p dir="ltr">It can be a tough process but I have learned one simple fact: there is nothing wrong with admitting I am a work in progress and I am not perfect. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>You</em> are a work in progress and <em>you</em> are not perfect, and that is completely fine. Acceptance of who you have become and who you are at the present moment will bring you inner peace. </p> <p dir="ltr">I hope you will find the eight key elements useful on your healing journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">1. Make your intention to heal clear to the universe and, more importantly, to yourself. Use the following affirmation: ‘I am ready to heal.’</p> <p dir="ltr">2. Focus your attention: do not allow distractions or self-destructive talk. Take a few cleansing breaths to focus your mind and direct your attention on what you need to address in order to ease the healing process.</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Keep an open heart: always keep your heart open to welcoming love and joy no matter how hard it is.</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Release everything that does not serve you in your quest for healing. Use the following affirmation: ‘I release any negative energy that is obstructing my healing process. I invite only positive energy to bless my healing process.’</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Commit to undertaking the healing work every day. Use the following affirmation: ‘I commit to always do what it takes to heal every single day.’</p> <p dir="ltr">6. Have hope: inculcate a desire for change, as it will keep the flame of trust burning. 7. Love: love is our blueprint for life. Always go back to love.</p> <p dir="ltr">8. Have faith: faith is knowing deep inside you will be all right. You may never be complete, but you will still be doing just fine.</p> <p dir="ltr">Do not fear grief, for it is a natural process and a partner in your healing. Remember: healing is an ongoing process so always be gentle and compassionate with yourself.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Edited extract from The Art of Grieving: Gentle self-care practices to heal a broken heart (Rockpool Publishing, $29.95), by Corinne Laan. Now available where all good books are sold and online at <a href="http://www.rockpoolpublishing.co" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.rockpoolpublishing.co</a> </strong></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-47c72fc2-7fff-6c33-bca6-f375763eed59"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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Grieving parents call for change after Aussie teen dies on school trip

<p dir="ltr">The parents of a teenager who died on an overseas school trip say more should have been done to prevent the death of their “fit and healthy” 15 year old.</p> <p dir="ltr">Blackburn high-school-student Timothy Fehring was meant to be on the “trip of a lifetime” when he attended a school trip in Germany in 2019, along with 16 other students and two teachers who chaperoned during the trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, after departing Melbourne and arriving in Germany on June 23, Timothy became ill.</p> <p dir="ltr">His mum, Barbara, received a text from Timothy that read: "I almost threw up and am working on getting better so I can have a better time."</p> <p dir="ltr">Barbara and her husband Dale said their son wasn’t one to complain and rejected claims he was just “homesick” in the leadup to his death.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was a super fit and healthy child and he would never want to make a fuss or bring attention to himself," Barbra told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/timothy-fehring-family-speak-after-melbourne-schoolboy-dies-on-school-trip-in-europe/b8144abe-790c-46d1-8a35-f2dedfd5f1ff" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As he continued to participate in activities, TImothy became violently ill, vomiting multiple times and eating very little on the first two days of the trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">When a teacher took him to a chemist and explained his symptoms, he was given some medication. Waking up the next day, Timothy asked his mum to get him home.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He expressed dissatisfaction about how he was being treated," the coroner’s findings read.</p> <p dir="ltr">Timothy was then taken to Munich Children’s Hospital and “thoroughly examined” by a doctor, and left six hours later with a diagnosis of a combination of homesickness, constipation and gastroenteritis.</p> <p dir="ltr">On June 27, he joined the group on a walking tour in Vienna, Austria, with the coroner’s findings stating he carried a “vomit bag”, walked slowly and looked tired.</p> <p dir="ltr">He asked to go back to the hospital, but staff denied his request.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then, when he threw up his dinner that night, staff contacted Timothy’s parents and made arrangements so he could fly home alone on June 29, which would include making a trip to a GP to secure a fit-to-travel certificate on June 28.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, after walking into the hallway to get some air, Timothy was found unresponsive with blood trickling from his nose.</p> <p dir="ltr">He was hospitalised but died on June 28, with an autopsy revealing he had a “highly acute” infection in his stomach and lungs, and had suffered a heart attack.</p> <p dir="ltr">Barbara and Dale said they weren’t made aware of the severity of Timothy’s illness, and are calling for change to staffing for overseas school trips.</p> <p dir="ltr">His mother acknowledged that the two teachers were trained in first aid, but said a school nurse would have had a better understanding of his illness.</p> <p dir="ltr">"They would have picked up on the signs quicker and we wouldn't be here today," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He wasn’t homesick,” she continued, adding that having more adults accompany students would have helped save her son.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When he said he was sick and said something wasn't right, that was the truth.</p> <p dir="ltr">"No one was being his advocate, we think it's important to have more adults to student ratios.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In his findings on Timothy’s death, Coroner Simon McGregor called on the Department of Education and Training to increase the staff to student ratios on these trips, and recommended that organisers should ensure there were enough resources available if someone did fall ill.</p> <p dir="ltr">"With the benefit of hindsight, staff made the wrong judgement call that Tim's complaints were not sufficiently serious," McGregor commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since then, the department said a group the size that Tim was in now requires three adults, not two.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Fehrings continue to mourn their son, with Dale saying it has been a “hard three years”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Children shouldn’t die, this is so tragic,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It hits you hard and it has been a hard three years. We have tried to cope."</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e3a529fc-7fff-d243-0b79-aa7e71c18bc7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Nine</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Andrew Symonds laid to rest in private service

<p dir="ltr">Cricketing icon Andrew Symonds has been farewelled in a private funeral on Friday morning, ahead of a public service later that afternoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">Symonds’ wife and children were seen clutching his beloved Akubras as they gathered with friends, teammates and other family members of the cricketer at Riverway Stadium on the outskirts of Townsville, Queensland.</p> <p dir="ltr">The memorial comes <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/gone-too-soon-tributes-flow-for-andrew-symonds" target="_blank" rel="noopener">nearly a fortnight after Symonds veered off a remote road</a> and fatally crashed his car.</p> <p dir="ltr">His wife Laura and their children Billy and Chloe were among the first to arrive at 10am, just an hour before the service began, and were followed a short time later by Symonds’ best friend and former teammate Jimmy Maher.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other cricketing greats also attended the service, including Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Micthell Johnson, as well as West Indies batsman Brian Lara and NRL player Darren Lockyer.</p> <p dir="ltr">A note sent to guests told them “no tie necessary”, reflecting Symonds’ casual personal style and his frequent appearances at semi-formal events in shorts and t-shirts.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-415ebf7c-7fff-9359-b419-4c0d8fa0f917"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Some guests took the brief seriously, arriving in chinos and button-up shirts, while others wore three-piece suits.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Andrew Symonds will be publicly farewelled this afternoon in Townsville. </p> <p>Fans are welcomed to join the service online from 2:30pm AEST on <a href="https://twitter.com/cricketcomau?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cricketcomau</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/FoxCricket?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FoxCricket</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/kayosports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kayosports</a> <a href="https://t.co/E4rR5Sae18">pic.twitter.com/E4rR5Sae18</a></p> <p>— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) <a href="https://twitter.com/CricketAus/status/1530015862995816448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 27, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">In lieu of flowers, guests were encouraged to donate to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nigel Fairbain was the first to speak at the service, welcoming attendees to celebrate Symonds’ life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The gratitude his family extends to you all, with the acknowledgement to people who have travelled long distances.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Rejoice in the life he led. Celebrate it and learn from it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Andrew’s life was a life well-lived, albeit cut short too early.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Symonds’ two children both spoke after, followed by his mother Barbara and sister Louise.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5e66cd3d-7fff-adb7-0e5e-ef28e74008d3"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">A video tribute was also delivered by former teammate Matthew Hayden.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/andrew-symonds-service1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Photos of Andrew Symonds, cricket hats and his cricket bat surrounded his coffin. Image: Twitter</em></p> <p dir="ltr">After the service, Gilchrist told <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10859363/Andrew-Symonds-funeral-Townville-Riverway-Stadium-Australia-cricket-greats-wife-Laura-farewell-Roy.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Daily Mail Australia</a></em> that Maher delivered the best eulogy he’s ever heard.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He looked at the kids in the eyes and told them exactly what he thought Roy would want him to say,” Gilchrist told the publication.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The service was simply beautiful. I’ve not seen a congregation as moved as they were today - full of sadness, but also such beautiful memories of a guy who just gave so much of himself to so many people, unconditionally.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He was loyal, almost to a fault. Mischievous character, but he would do whatever it took to help others - in and off the field.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’ve all spoken so much about Roy, and there’s barely been a mention of his cricketing exploits and he was one of the game's great exploits. Ricky Ponting said he’d pick him in any team in any format.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Following on from the morning’s service, a public service will be livestreamed on <a href="https://www.cricket.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cricket.com.au</a>, <a href="https://kayosports.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kayo Sports</a>, and <a href="https://www.foxsports.com.au/?_gl=1*qteu7l*_ga*YW1wLU50aDlQVWR6Yk41MU11RW5FRjdQRVE." target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fox Cricket</a> from 2.30pm.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-27946453-7fff-c75e-9e42-41ed3e5d6eeb"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

News

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Grieving family slam Senator’s “disgraceful” Covid vaccine claim

<p dir="ltr">The family of a man who died in his sleep has been left “devastated” after a politician falsely claimed his death was caused by the COVID-19 vaccine and concealed by the government.</p> <p dir="ltr">Daniel Perkins had no signs of illness when he suddenly died in his sleep at his Shellharbour home in December.</p> <p dir="ltr">His family, including his wife, Nikki, and their two eight-year-old sons, Logan and Jordi, have been grieving and finding every day difficult.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then on Tuesday, in a speech to parliament, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts included Mr Perkins in his list of “victims” of COVID-19 vaccine injuries that have been “hidden behind government data”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Senator Roberts said that “the very least we can do for the victims of Covid vaccines is to say their names”, and said Mr Perkins was “a 36-year-old healthy father from Albion Park (who) died of a heart attack in his sleep following his second Pfizer injection”.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, Mr Perkins’ family isn’t aware of any evidence suggesting the vaccine contributed to his death.</p> <p dir="ltr">His brother-in-law, Shane Anderson, spoke to <em><a href="https://7news.com.au/news/public-health/family-of-nsw-father-daniel-perkins-slams-politicians-disgraceful-covid-vaccine-claim-c-6273002" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7News</a></em> on Thursday and shared how his sister was “devastated” after seeing how her partner’s death was being used by Senator Roberts.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The frustration and anger that I had this morning just knocks you off your feet a bit because you think, ‘How dare you? How dare you bring my brother’s name into it at such a terrible time in our life,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are just totally gutted that that was even suggested when we, as the family, don’t even have that information.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Anderson said the family was also disappointed since the information was “entirely untrue” and was “used without prior approval”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My sister had no one ring her up and ask for any of that kind of information, or even whether that was the case,” he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Perkins’ family was told he had an “enlarged heart” at the time of his death, but that a definitive cause of death required an investigation by the coroner. The final post mortem results are still pending, as reported by <em>7News</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For a politician to comment on something when it’s still under investigation is just absurd,” Shane said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’d be more than willing to have a chat if it was true … (but) there’s been no information given to the family that would even suggest that is the case, and to be used in federal parliament as a pinboard is just disgraceful.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If I could get an apology from him that would be very much appreciated.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Anderson said that “every day is hard” for his nephews and sister in the three months since Mr Perkins’ death.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(The boys) have days where they say, ‘Dad used to do this with me’ or ‘Dad used to take me there’ and they’ll stop for a split second and have that ‘oh no’, but generally, they are two young eight-year-old boys living their life as they should,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re just trying to do events and take them to all these things and keep them in a happy space.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Senator Roberts is yet to comment on the situation.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-36fb4b86-7fff-ed5e-183e-85cdd777f5c4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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COVID has changed how we live, how we die, and how we grieve

<p>Last week marked the second anniversary of the World Health Organization’s <a href="https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---11-march-2020">declaration of a pandemic</a>.</p> <p>In these two years, over <a href="https://covid19.who.int/">5,500 Australians</a> have died from COVID, and approximately <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/deaths-australia/latest-release#:%7E:text=Key%20statistics%20There%20were%20169%2C301%20registered%20deaths%20in,Infant%20deaths%20increased%20by%2021%20deaths%20to%201%2C009">300,000 Australians</a> have lost their lives in total.</p> <p>Necessary public health protections have affected people’s access to dying loved ones, limited their participation in important rituals like funerals, and reduced the physical social support they would otherwise receive from friends and family.</p> <h2>More than half reporting problematic grief symptoms</h2> <p>Australia has seen relatively low numbers of COVID infections and deaths, particularly prior to recent months. So understanding the impact of COVID deaths on the people left behind has meant looking overseas.</p> <p>As a member of <a href="https://sites.google.com/cnu.edu/the-pandemic-grief-project">The Pandemic Grief Project</a>, I partnered with overseas researchers to survey people in the United States who had a person close to them die from COVID.</p> <p><a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2021.0103">We found</a> more than half (57%) of those surveyed reported problematic grief symptoms such as a change in identity, feelings of meaninglessness, and wishes to die, to a degree where psychological therapy would be advised.</p> <p>Further, 70% of the sample coped with their loss using drugs or alcohol for at least several days in the past two weeks.</p> <p>In our second study of people in the US who had a person close to them die from COVID, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885392421000117?via%3Dihub">we found</a> most of the participants reported high levels of symptoms of generalised anxiety (70%), depression (74%), problematic grief (66%) and impaired functioning in key areas of life such as work, leisure and family relationships (63%).</p> <h2>Deaths from COVID versus other causes</h2> <p>These studies couldn’t tell us whether grief from a COVID death might be different to deaths from other causes. So we designed our next study to answer this question.</p> <p>We surveyed people in the US who had a person close to them die from any cause during the pandemic. Nearly three-quarters (72%) reported problematic grief symptoms and 77% reported functional impairment.</p> <p>When we compared those bereaved by losing someone to COVID to those whose loss was from another cause, we found no differences in levels of problematic grief symptoms or functional impairment.</p> <p>Further, the three groups (those bereaved by COVID, another natural cause, or a violent cause) reported levels of functional impairment equal to or greater than bereaved people who had problematic grief prior to the pandemic.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07481187.2021.1974666">We concluded</a> grief from deaths during COVID may warrant similar clinical concern as deaths from COVID.</p> <h2>What do these findings mean for Australia?</h2> <p>I’m part of team that designed a <a href="https://www.lossandgriefduringcovid19.com/">national study</a> to answer this question. We aim to understand the grief experiences and support needs of people in Australia who have been bereaved from any cause during the COVID pandemic.</p> <p>So far, more than 2,000 bereaved Australians have participated to tell us about their experiences of grieving, the support they needed, and the effects of COVID public health measures on their grief.</p> <p><a href="https://palliativecare.org.au/story/the-silent-epidemic-of-grief-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/">Early results</a> suggest people who have lost a loved one during the pandemic are experiencing more grief, anxiety and depression than we would expect prior to the pandemic.</p> <p>The study is open for recruitment until the end of March and you can access the survey <a href="https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/impacct/about-us/research-impacct/studies/bereavement-during-covid-19-share-your-experience">here</a>.</p> <p>The team intends to develop a national bereavement action plan in coming months to help address grief support needs during the COVID pandemic and any future pandemics.</p> <h2>Sustained struggles with grief</h2> <p>The international findings coupled with the preliminary Australian findings are a strong indicator that, as the pandemic continues, we’re likely to see sustained struggles with grief.</p> <p>Bereaved people commonly seek support for their grief, yet my colleagues and I have found <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2632352420935132">almost one-third</a> report not receiving the support they would’ve liked. Research from the UK shows the pandemic has <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/02692163211043372">exacerbated this gap</a> between support need and support received.</p> <p>One reason for this gap is that all of us – individuals, health professionals and communities – need to be more grief literate. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07481187.2020.1739780">Grief literacy</a> combines the knowledge of grief and loss, values of compassion and care, and skills to enable supportive action.</p> <p>The pandemic has shown more than ever we must do more to understand and support grieving people, strengthen their supporters and boost collective well-being in the wake of everyday loss and large-scale disasters.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-has-changed-how-we-live-how-we-die-and-how-we-grieve-177731" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Mind

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Grieving mother’s plea to finish son’s composition answered

<p dir="ltr">A grieving mother has put out a worldwide call for musicians to finish her son’s first musical composition. </p><p dir="ltr">12-year-old Kyan Pennell passed away on January 31st after a tragic accident on his family’s property when he got caught between a trailer and a gate.</p><p dir="ltr">Kyan’s mum Amanda Brierley said he started learning piano just seven months ago, and unbeknownst to her, had started writing his own music. </p><p dir="ltr">"The thing that has given us some little part of Kyan to hold onto is when I found this composition he was working on in the middle of a blank exercise book," she told <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/">ABC Radio Brisbane</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">"I didn't realise that he knew how to write music. He said he wanted to know how to get what was inside his head out on paper and he must have been learning how to do that."</p><p dir="ltr">Amanda said Kyan’s neurodiversity gave him a “superpower” to focus and learn more than 30 classical music pieces in just a few months. </p><p dir="ltr">Earlier in February, Amanda posted a photo of Kyan’s unfinished work and asked other musicians to help finish it.</p><p dir="ltr">"This was just the intro, it is unfinished," she wrote.</p><p dir="ltr">"He was building up to a grand mid-section and then would do an ending but he never got to complete what was in his mind's eye.</p><p dir="ltr">"He imagined it to be performed by wind and string instruments, and of course his beloved piano."</p><p dir="ltr">Amanda said she has received dozens of submissions and hoped to collect as many as she could to help honour her "beautiful boy".</p><p dir="ltr">"Finding this composition was an unexpected gift from him," she said.</p><p dir="ltr">"Unfortunately we never got to hear him play it, so I want the world to be able to play it for me.”</p><p dir="ltr">"I just want to be able to change his memory from a tragic accident to something of beauty for others as well."</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook / Amanda Brierley</em></p>

Music

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Grieving Maggie Beer finds amazing way to honour her late daughter

<p>Australian culinary legend Maggie Beer and her husband Colin have found a heart-felt way to honour their late daughter Saskia. </p><p>Saskia, who shared her mother's passion for cooking and ran her own business, is about to be honoured in the form of a Churchill Fellowship. </p><p>"It allows people for, say, four to eight weeks, depending on what they envisage doing, of going overseas to find something that can't be learnt in Australia... that's the strength of it, and when they bring it back, they have to give back to the community in large what they have learnt," Maggie told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p><p>"Through the Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship, the people who are awarded that Fellowship will pay tribute to Saskia's life and continue her legacy through their passion for food," Winston Churchill Trust CEO Adam Davey said.</p><p>Two years ago, Maggie and Colin were blindsided by the sudden death of their 46-year-old daughter, who passed away unexpectedly in her sleep in February 2020. </p><p>Maggie said the beginning of the pandemic gave their family valuable time to grieve together. </p><p>"COVID to me was a bit of a gift, to isolate... we didn't want to talk to anyone except for our very closest," Maggie said.</p><p>After her daughter passed away, Maggie found solace in the kitchen: a space that they both shared a deep love for. </p><p>"My happy place is being in the kitchen... so it gave me comfort," Maggie said.</p><p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

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