Learning to live with loss through love

The Pureland Series at China Exchange will explore how we deal with grief and bereavement during a positive and inspiring event on November 7 led by psychotherapist Julia Samuel MBE.

It will raise awareness of the work of Child Bereavement UK, which supports families when a baby or child dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. The charity has just launched a new campaign called One More Minute and released a short film in which contributors talk about what they would say if they had one more minute with their lost loved one. The charity’s royal patron, The Duke of Cambridge, provides a final message.

Child Bereavement UK was set up by Julia Samuel, one of the leading figures in grief counselling in the UK, whose first book Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving was published in March this year. For the Pureland Series at China Exchange, Samuel will lead a discussion into the effects and stages of grief, how we understand and manage loss and how individuals can use a death to bring about positive and healthy change.

Joining her on the panel for the November 7 event, which is supported by the Pureland Foundation, will be Victoria Milligan, who lost her husband Nick and youngest daughter Emily in a boating accident in Cornwall in 2013. She herself suffered life-changing injuries. Milligan will be talking about her experiences as well as offering insights into parenting, gleaned through having to support her remaining three children. “I know that I will never fully get over what has happened to me,” she says, “but I also know that the only way my children and I will have a future is by working our way through the pain of grief.”

The evening will be hosted by Tom Bradby, the ITV news presenter and journalist, who has reported from war zones around the world where trauma and death are daily occurrences.

Whatever the background to loss, one of the tenets of Samuel’s philosophy is that there is no “right way” to express one’s feelings. “The key,” she says, “is to find a way of connecting to the feelings we have inside.” Samuel explains that when we face our fears – the death of someone we love, our own death or being with bereaved friends – we are better able to cope with them. “Death is the last great taboo,” she says, “and its consequence, grief, is profoundly misunderstood.”

Child Bereavement UK has as its patrons Mary Berry and Jason Watkins, as well as Rio Ferdinand, who visited the charity as part of his BBC documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad.

The Pureland Series aims to enrich lives through creativity, spirituality and self-expression. It is a showcase for the vision and work of the Pureland Foundation, which supports social, spiritual and emotional wellness through art and music.

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