Reach out and share your grief and sense of loss. That’s the message from Grief Recovery Therapist Joan Hughes, as the pandemic continues to take its toll.
Speaking during National Grief Awareness Week, the Surrey-based former Police Officer is no stranger to profound losses throughout her life, including the death of her mother after a five-year battle with cancer, when Joan was just 16.
Joan also lost her Police career and two marriages, due to ongoing problems with her health, linked to complications during the birth of her daughter. Sadly, she was unable to have more children.
In a further blow, she was diagnosed with breast cancer just two weeks after celebrating her 53rd birthday - at exactly the same age as her mother was, when she died.
Reinforcing the national awareness week’s message of “Hope again” and now in remission, Joan said:
“There has been so much loss throughout the pandemic, triggered by changes to our familiar routines.
“Grief covers a whole range of losses including changes to people’s health, finances, working arrangements and losing relatives, partners, friends and pets.
“This is really tough during normal times but Covid has intensified people’s sense of loss, having a potentially huge impact on longer-term mental health.
“It is so important to talk, share feelings and experiences, and to be heard and listen to each other. It’s OK to be emotional - we are all grieving for something.”
Joan’s career path underwent a massive change, when she left the Police Force, for health reasons, and trained as a therapist. As well as Grief Recovery, she also offers Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom sessions, Reiki and retreats.
She said, “Leaving the Police had a massive impact and I felt cheated and angry. I’d always wanted to be an officer and joined straight from school. The Force was all I knew.
“My health problems meant I couldn’t carry out my full role as an active officer and I couldn’t do an office-based job as I couldn’t sit comfortably for long, and still can’t. I was embarrassed too as my health issues were too personal to fully explain.”
“Completing a 1:1 Grief Recovery Method course turned my life around and inspired me to qualify as a specialist myself. During the training, I was able to work on the loss of my health, alongside other devastating losses experienced throughout my life.
“It helped me to rebuild my confidence and sense of self-worth, as well as coming to terms with it all.”