60 Postcards – a creative grief project. Some scatter ashes, some scatter words.
Grief is isolating enough without having to self isolate.
The whole world’s ability to be able to mourn properly has been taken away. Just yesterday, Cruse Bereavement Care reported a rise in calls to their helpline. People are struggling. And it’s no surprise.
Desperately-needed in-person interactions, visiting your favourite place, space in general, healthy distractions – all of these have been wiped out in times of lockdown. There is no escape. It’s dangerous.
Something needs to be done. Yet, many Governments and Media continue to describe those who have died, as merely data and numbers. What kind of example is this? FK the stats for a moment – where is the humility? Where is the appreciation for humanity? Because death is personal. Grief is personal.
In #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, here’s an alternative slogan:
Every single individual lost – no matter when, no matter how – is a unique being; with a name and a story. With a reason to be remembered. And that’s exactly why I’ve launched a new movement…
Postcards For You
I lost my mum in February 2012 to bowel cancer. 16 days fell between the day she was diagnosed to the day she died. Inevitably, during this pandemic, my thoughts have thrown back to that time – what would it have been like in lockdown?
As a seasoned griever, I’ve adapted and learned along the way. Yes, it’s still all consuming and brutally debilitating at times but I’ve found my way of managing it. I can sense the storms of grief coming. I know what to do. I’ve set up my support system for when I need it (which I’m eternally grateful for).
What has really consumed my mind every single day of this pandemic, is the grief of others; to those alone, to those unable to grieve with their families, to those unable to attend funerals, to those who it’s so frightfully fresh for, to those who have lost people long ago, and this situation is only heightening their pain.
I launched a postcard project in my mum’s memory in the same year she died. I now feel an urgent responsibility to take the positives from that and turn it into something that could help right now.
Postcards For You is a global movement, encouraging people to hand write messages about lost loved ones on postcards. These will be first shared far and wide online, and then left out in the world for strangers to find (when the time is right).
A bit about the ‘why’…
Why handwritten notes?
In this digital age, there’s something more beautiful than ever about handwriting. Distinctive, personal, unique; I can still spot my Mum’s a mile off. Putting pen to paper can be a cathartic process, too.
They remind me of family and holidays. I love the way they are so open. What’s written there is to be seen – no envelopes, no secrets. If asked to share words of love and emotion, an unlimited word count can be completely overwhelming. The size of a postcard is practically perfect.
How can Postcards For You help?
Look – a handwritten note isn’t going to ‘fix’ anything. I know that. And it won’t be for everyone (like most things). But right now it’s about exploring ways to express; ways to look out for our own – and each other’s – mental health.
Bringing people together through shared stories about lost loved ones – or even just being able to read them – can offer a sense of comfort. This collection of tributes is not only an individual process, it’s about being part of something; a community. Just another of the many efforts to create a sense of unity in these time. Crikey, do we need it.
Spread the word. x
Read more about grief in lockdown:
How Coronavirus Interrupted My Grieving Process – Refinery 29
Grieving during COVID-19 – Let’s Talk About Loss
The Case for Music in Times of Loss – The New York Times