Grief for the nation’s grandmother

As the news sinks in that Her Majesty the Queen has died, many people are finding themselves surprised by how devastated they feel, and how it's brought their own losses to the surface.

September 9, 2022

At Cruse we know that it is possible to feel real grief for someone you didn’t know personally, especially someone like the Queen who has been a constant presence as long as most of us can remember.

Some of the people who are feeling most raw are those who have found that her death has brought up reminders of bereavements and losses in their own lives.

Grief for a parent

If your own mother died recently you may have found that the news has brought all those painful feelings back to the surface. Perhaps she was of the same generation to the Queen, and her death has added to the feeling that it is the end of an era. Your mum may also have been someone who admired or followed the Queen, lived through some of the same events, or shared her values. Just the fact that there is so much emotion on show in the news can trigger those parts of you which are hurting from other losses.

It can be really tough when a parent or parent figure dies. It can feel like your foundations have been shaken and you can feel very vunerable. Now that we’ve lost our figure head, its entirely normal to feel the same. The Queen may not have known us personally, but throughout her life she demonstrated strong love and dedication to the people of the UK. Like many parents, she has also been a fixture of our lives, and formed a connection with events in our own past.

Grandparents are special

As well as a parent, The Queen was a devoted grandparent and great grandparent. There is something special about grandparents. Although many grandparents take on parental responsibilities, often their role in our lives is as an extra-special supporter, and their death brings its own unique losses. And for many of us, the death of a grandparent is our first experience of bereavement.

In many ways The Queen, as someone who has been present for our whole lives, has acted as a grandmother figure to the whole nation. You may feel as if a member of your own extended family has died. If you have young children who have not yet had a bereavement of their own, her death may be the first time they learn about what it means for someone to die. For them and for some adults too, the reminder that everyone dies can be quite frightening, and make the world feel unsafe and uncertain.

Difficult relationships

If you had a difficult relationship with a mother or grandmother, or if you didn’t have a chance to know them, you might also be finding it difficult. The lack of that relationship is another kind of loss. The outpouring of grief for Her Majesty may be a painful reminder of what you never had.

Perhaps you don’t even understand fully why you’ve been so affected by The Queen’s death. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Grief, whoever it is for, affects everyone differently.

What can help

If you’re struggling give yourself permission to feel sad, for The Queen and her loved ones, and also for what you and the nation have lost.

There are many others who are affected in the same way as you. Look for places where people are sharing their feelings or sign one of the books of condolence. Talking to friends and family can also help, but it’s worth thinking about their own circumstances. If you are very upset not everyone will understand.

If you are very overwhelmed, sad or anxious it might help to take a break from news coverage. Try doing something completely different. For example walking and exercise are something we recommend as part of grief self care.

We’re here for you

Whatever you are feeling, Cruse here for you.

How to get help