1. Create a safe and nurturing space for the traumatised/grieving person to be heard. Do not feel the need to fill silent gaps or bombard the grieving with your thoughts. Do not compare the loss of an entire family to the time your cat died (yes that actually happened!).
2. Although all losses and experience of pain and grief are relevant and valid, it is important to distinguish between the more natural loss of a grandparent and the loss of multiple loved ones in a tragic accident. There is trauma on top of grief and this is very important to remember.
3. Trauma takes time to unpack and unfold. It can take years and often a lifetime. That’s ok, it’s essential and necessary. Do not undersell or insult the trauma with what I deem as ‘toxic positivity’ - saying ‘chin up’ or ‘smile’ is tremendously insulting to the grieving process.
4. While traumatic loss and trauma can often be all encompassing and filter into many aspects of life, it sometimes is fabulous to have some light relief from it. If the grieving and traumatised person wants to make light jokes and go out for a dance, you as the person supporting should FOLLOW THEIR LEAD. If they want to talk, you listen, if they want to remain silent, you hold that space.
5. Don’t say anything about god or religion or under any circumstances try to rationalise the death(s). This is like putting a rusty knife in an already open wound and twisting it around. Some things are just agonising and if you haven’t experienced them then you cannot possibly understand. Know the difference between understanding and empathy. Employ the latter in abundance. The grieving never forget who have been there for them during the times when they thought they could die from a broken heart.
Meet The Fandangoe Kid, the print artist who is plastering the streets of London with bold messages that deal with life, love and grief.
The Fandangoe Kid has used her creative practice to process the enormous traumatic loss of almost all of her family. Unlocking her grief remains a key driving force in her work. Having experienced society’s discomfort with talking about death and loss when trying to come to terms with her own bereavement, she seeks to use her practice as a platform for unearthing conversations around the vast and complex subject of grief, something that will affect us all, yet something we are still so ill equipped at handling.