Adjusting to life after you have lost someone close to you is never easy. Even when the death is expected there is a great sense of loss. We can prepare for the death of a loved one, but not for life without them. Grief can be exhausting, and will run its own course. You may experience sadness, anger, and guilt, fatigue, self-reproach, depression or anxiety. You will have good days and bad days. This is a normal response to grief. People may tell you that it’s time you ‘got over it’ and that you need to be strong. Neither are appropriate expectations. Grief is different for everyone, and takes its own time.
Look after yourself physically and mentally - make sure you get enough rest and exercise and take some time out. Keep in touch with your GP to monitor your physical wellbeing. Your GP can refer you to a grief counsellor. If friends want to help, take them up on their offer. Just being in their company while sharing a coffee or a meal can help. Sharing with other people can reduce the sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness that come with grief.
It is important to acknowledge your loss and process it. You may never get over the loss, but you will get through it. Eventually you will reach the stage when you ‘forget about’ your grief for an hour or two. Don’t feel guilty, this too is a normal reaction. There is no harm in taking a short ‘holiday’ from grief to ease the pain. Through AVA we offer support to family members and carers who are dealing with a loss. Everyone is welcome to come along to talk, or just to be amongst an empathetic group of people who understand, because they have had a similar experience.
If you prefer to meet outside of the office, we will try to organise a volunteer to visit you at home, or arrange a neutral place to meet. It is helpful to talk to someone who has been through the same painful journey.
We hold monthly meetings for anyone who has been bereaved by asbestos related disease.
The AVA website has a tribute page for victims of asbestos disease – please contact us if you wish to add a photo and tribute.
AVA holds a Memorial Day ceremony for all asbestos victims and their families on the last Friday in November each year. The ceremony is held at Pitman Park, Salisbury. Relatives and friends are invited to lay flowers in memory of loved ones after the ceremony.