The elephant in the room (see poem below) is a lately departed loved one still larger than life in the memory but not always a suitable topic for everyday conversation. In fact, argued Ipswich Hospital Chaplain, the Revd Siw Carlsson, the elephant in the poem and the real life elephant of bereavement both deserve recognition. If we lose a loved one, we need those around us to help us grieve and adjust and face up to the loss.
Drawing on her experience, Siw introduced this topic to a sizeable audience at St Marys House, using Terry Ketterings poem to illustrate the sensitivity of a malaise which ultimately affects most people. In the short term at least, bereavement may lead to an outpouring of grief, a determination to carry on as normal or even a lapse into depression. Whatever the reaction, said Siw, people need support and recognition that grieving is a natural part of the healing process.
Afterwards, Siw invited questions and discussion and several people chose to share their experiences. Nursing someone through a long illness, for example and having the chance to say good-bye could be very different from losing someone suddenly. It was perfectly normal for the bereaved person to feel angry and cheated at the loss, the issue being how to make support available as it was needed.
Anyone seeking professional support after bereavement can contact Suffolk Coastal Cruse, the local branch of the national counselling service, Cruse Bereavement (Tel: 01473 230888 or 01728 454111)
An extract from:
The elephant in the room
by Terry Kettering
There's an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
so it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with "How are you?"
and "I'm fine" ...
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room
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