Acute grief from a recent bereavement

Posted by Chorltondeathcafe on March 6, 2019, 5:39 a.m.

Hi all, I have hosted 14 Death Cafes and recently there have been around 45 people at each one (every 6 - 8 weeks).

At the last one, there were 2 people who came who were (separately) experiencing acute grief from recent bereavements.  Luckily, their table were largely able to hold the space and both of them felt very supported, I later heard - lifechangingly so, they said.  

I checked in with all 6 people after the event, by email (as I picked up that it had been intense)  and three of the others on the table had found it an extraordinarily beneficial evening.  One, however, had struggled and went home worrying about the two.  I've been in touch with her and we are still in conversation. 

I now have just recieved an email from someone who has heeded my advice - always sent out with confirmation of a place, to get in touch with me if they are expreriencing acute grief from a recent bereavement.  

  This woman's dad died suddenly, only 2 months ago.  He was an alcoholic and they had a difficult relationship.  The daughter wasn't told he was ill, but he died 3 weeks after being taken into critical care.


I'm just not sure how to reply to the email, as every person in deep grief will be different at the Death Cafe.  

I've so far started an email which includes this:  I’m not a professional grief counsellor at all, but what I can talk about is my experience of the very rare occasions when someone in the depths of acute grief has come to the Death Cafe.  What has tended to happen is one of a few things:

- the grieving person receives a lot of support and care and leaves feeling a lot lighter, having shared and been heard
- or, their group might have a person, or more than one, who feels the need to talk mainly about themselves and their experiences, in which case the grieving person receives some care, but maybe doesn’t feel as supported as they had hoped.
I'm tempted to say something about the fact that it could be too hard for some people to sit with another's grief, but then I think that's what people sign up for when they come to a Death Cafe, so do I really need to warn someone in acute grief about others' upset?
In my info I do say: You may be holding old grief and this may be stirred during conversations in your group.  


Every effort is made to ensure it is a safe space, but it is essentially our community coming together in random groups to talk and to listen.  

There are no staff and no professionals there in their work capacity.

Every group will be different, and, if you come more than once, your experiences will vary.


Any thoughts, anyone?  Do you say yes to everyone, even those in the depths of grief?  

What's your experience when such a person is at your Death Cafe? 


Thank you for reading all this long piece, Debbie

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