Good grief sounds like a contradiction – of two contrasting ideas that don’t seem to fit together. But you’d be wrong to think that. Death and grief are taboo subjects but authentic ones nonetheless, and we all must face them at some stage in our lives. So, why not ensure they are “good” experiences?
By “good,” that is not to say painless or unemotional. We cannot avoid how we feel about losing someone we love. So why ‘good’ grief? Good grief is when you journey through the process without getting stuck or overwhelmed. It is about developing a mindset that embraces the messiness and the pain and so finds hope, i.e., learning more about yourself and others and discovering ways to live your life without your loved one being a part of it.
Steve Game-Blackmoor (Director of Last Rites Ltd.) and Jo Goodwin-Worton (Seeds in Time) are listed grief specialists. They are senior members of the ACCPH, but more importantly, they have both experienced profound losses.
Steve is a theological postgraduate. As a Grief Specialist and Funeral Officiant, he works alongside hospices, crematoria, funeral directors and psychotherapeutic counsellors. He believes that each journey of grief is unique. He also believes in the value of every life, whether good or bad, wrong or right, rich or poor.
“Every life deserves to be treated with great dignity and respect,” Steve says, “my vocation in life, as I understand it, is to underline a person’s value and place in our world, regardless of who they are, by drawing attention to who they were; but to do so, with the grieving family in mind.” Steve will consistently create and lead a funeral service for you with these principles in his mind and heart.
Jo Goodwin-Worton has worked extensively in social care settings, mainly in Occupational Health. In 2018 her husband was diagnosed with Upper GI cancer, so she has first-hand experience with anticipated grief and the bereavement journey.
Jo is the author of the highly successful book ‘Caring for Cancer – The Real Journey’ and has a 2nd book due to be published this year. She is also part of the Compassionate Communities Group at MPFT, which supports people and local community groups to raise awareness around death, dying and loss.
“At the heart of all my work,” she says, “is the space to create meaningful conversations. I understand that grief is unique, and there is no right or wrong way.”
Jo is at hand to provide a listening ear and help you navigate your grief after the funeral.
Steve and Jo both passionately believe that the journey of loss can begin long before the death of a loved one. Steve says, “More often, I find, the grief journey can only be explained by reference to the whole journey from before death to after the funeral.” And so, their work is characterised by the belief that every part of the process is interconnected.
Working together, they offer a different service. A real alternative to the dated and non-specialist pastoral support of religious institutions. They will try to support you through the waves, the exhaustion, and the anxiety with real understanding and experience.
Secular/Spiritual Last Rites
Soul Midwifery offers a range of gentle therapies to soothe and reassure the dying person – skilled advocates who are usually non-denominational. Listeners. Personable. Their work begins from diagnosis until the final day of life. They are also there to help support the family, whose grief journey has already begun.
As Grief Specialists, Steve and Jo offer this support themselves or will signpost you to local organisations and individuals who will provide this kind of support.
A funeral wishes certificate will be issued following an appointment with Steve, where he will gather and record information in as much detail as is required to set out your final wishes. After death, Steve will use the information collected to deliver a service that perfectly represents your last wishes. In the same way, you can pre-book a funeral director, choose a coffin and burial plot, choose your funeral officiant and share your final wishes with them; This is the perfect option for families that are finding it hard to discuss death.
Pre-planning can be immensely reassuring, but it also ensures your funeral wishes are known and can reduce the pressure on loved ones to ‘get things right’ at a challenging time.
A Specialist Funeral Ceremony That Properly Represents Your Loved one
Working alongside some of the best funeral homes in the business, Steve can also help you create a unique, meaningful funeral ceremony. Having officiated thousands of ceremonies, Steve is a leading name in the profession and has received many awards at home and globally.
Having a theological degree means that Steve understands the history and relevance of funeral rituals and ceremonies. His noted style is celebrated not only for its professionalism but also for its articulacy, holistic fashion, as well as for its warmth and compassion. But Steve would be amongst the first to admit that the funeral ceremony is about more than what we say.
He also recognises the importance of having a constant point of reference throughout the process. He works closely with a funeral professional who will efficiently arrange appointments with you, offers advice, and ensure contact is always maintained.
Steve works geographically alongside several specialist funeral homes with similar working practices and values. Don’t hesitate to contact him for more information about which funeral homes he works for within your area.
The Funeral and Beyond
Funerals underpin a necessary part of grieving. They highlight the reality that death has happened. They also allow your grief to surface, thus providing a safe and appropriate place to show and share your feelings with others. Realising that a good funeral will set the foundations for ‘good grief’ or healthy grieving is crucial.
And having the continuity of having someone who can competently journey with you to help you achieve that should never be understated. That is why Steve works closely with Jo. For him, there must be a check-in point. And for you, with Steve, your grief will always be at the centre of everything, and a line of support will be available after the funeral should you feel you need it.
“It is important to stress, however, that grief is a normal reaction to loss or bereavement. Most people manage to work through their grief at their own pace and in their way with very little need for external support other than from family and friends.” – Seeds in Time.
However, this is only sometimes the case. If you cannot process your grief or loss, support is recommended and can be incredibly beneficial.