Grief and loss

Written by Paul Dodsley, Student Health Development Officer and NTU Alumni

Life throws all kinds of things at us, it’s part of life’s journey. I remember seeing a quote that ‘time is a healer and life is a teacher’.  This is all very well but one thing I know is that you are never quite ready for loss and grief.

We all grief differently, there are no rules, I suppose it depends on the circumstances, but loss is loss. It comes in many forms I suppose. Recent research has suggested that experiences of those who were bereaved during the pandemic 67% experienced social isolation and loneliness. I also read that 39% of 18-35 years olds feel uncomfortable talking about grief and loss

At some point in our lives, we will experience some kind of loss. I remember losing my first pet, Sky the dog, losing my dad to cancer and my best friend at university…that hollow empty feeling and waves of feeling low, so many emotions come all at once.

During those times I just wanted a big hole to open up and take me away from what was happening. A big hug would have helped….a little bit of empathy goes along way. I did not talk about how I was feeling I just buried it.

I tended to learn to live with them and carry on, used exercise as a way of freeing my mind from my grief. I was not addressing my grief. For some it takes a while to come to terms with loss and do not accept it. Like I said before there are no rules to grieving and we all grieve differently

You know, It’s ok….it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to have time to yourself, It’s ok to tell someone close how you are feeling…it will take time, this period maybe a little rocky but remember small progress is still progress. The best advice someone ever told me was to chat about it, so I did and it really helped, I cried but I felt better for it. Don’t hold back those tears, there is no shame in being emotional it’s all part of grieving, it’s perfectly normal to be angry, guilty and feel abandoned. 

I reached out for help and got some counselling and started to piece things back together. So please reach out, tell your story on what is going on for you. If your loss or grief is too much and overwhelming it’s ok to seek help and support, I did and I’ll do it again.

There are some wonderful services out there from Let’s Talk About Loss, The Good Grief Trust and Cruse. Student Space has some really good info and resources

I still have a good cry now and then. I hold fond memories and keep little treasures that reminds of them which always brings a smile to my face. You are not alone help and support is never far away. Please look after yourself and remember a problem shared is a problem halved….use the people around you, you will be amazed how better it will make you feel.

Be that friend, there are no special skills needed when supporting someone with loss and grief….show empathy, listen, encourage them to be kind to themselves, keep checking in with them, take them for coffee and cake, go for a nice walk, be there for them. It will make all the difference. ‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.


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