Did you also think that sudden bereavement or loss is what happens in other families? I did.

I didn’t realise that we need to live in an imagined bubble of safety just to keep on living our lives through each day. Now I am thankful for that, and also thankful for support and space to live with grief and shock as well as with joy and hope.

When I was training in Trauma Debriefing at Family Life Centre the example of this bubble that made sense to me was how people in London got through the Blitz. Knowing they could be bombed tonight in part of their brain, but their whole being actually orientated towards perpetuating the safety and values of normal life. We do that, don’t we?

Someone said to me – grief is like being thrown into a deep lake; over time we learn to swim. Helping people honour their loss and keep breathing until they learn, a little, to swim, is a journey of great privilege and care, for me.

What is unfair in this barren and foreign terrain though, is that our closest and best loved people may be learning to swim differently, or in a different direction. This also I understand and can help with. Whether the grief is for yourself, for a friend or close family in grief or pain, for the country or the planet, having someone beside you to walk a part of the way, to notice the details of your view and your walk, gives some validation and support in our loneliest times. This is my experience too.

“We are all just walking each other home” Ram Dass says. There were precious times, between the distressing and bewildering times, of talking and walking another home: a journey of value beyond words.

Click here to read about 9 reasons about why relationships are extra hard when you’re battling with PTSD
A cartoon depicting a couple laying on a blanket. The girl raccoon says "Maybe I'm incapable of being in a relationship," and the guy raccoon says "yeah." The girl is holding the hand of another guy who is the depiction of PTSD

Is someone you love going through their own trauma or loss? Are you? Contact me for support along this difficult road.

I know I am not easy to be with when sadness or trauma live in my cells.

And I  know what it takes to care about the grief of others.


This makes sense to me.

“In a talk that’s by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let’s face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. “A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again,” she says. “They’re going to move forward. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve moved on.”

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

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