There’s an important stage to grief we don’t talk about

Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn both lost their mums suddenly. Upon realising there were few resources for young adults who are grieving, the pair started a podcast to talk about death and loss in a supportive and insightful way.

While death is an inevitable factor of life, it can often catch us off-guard.

Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn have both experienced this first-hand; in 2019, Douglas lost her mum to a seizure while on the other side of the world, while Carn lost her mother to suicide in February last year.

Douglas and Carn are both in their 30s and they discovered there were few resources for that “in-between” age to lose someone. So, they started a podcast, Good Mourning, to talk about loss and grief in a supportive, sensitive way, that certainly isn’t without laughs either when appropriate.

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Speaking with Body+Soul, we asked the hosts what they’ve learned about grief and what has surprised them most about speaking with their listeners.

Many of us know the five stages of grief, coined in 1969 by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but there is one equally important phase.

“Anxiety is the missing stage of grief that comes with losing a loved one,” says Carn, noting it can range from everyday anxiety to something more specific like health anxiety if you’ve lost a loved one to illness.

But it can also affect you when you start having “normal interactions” with others.

“Your confidence gets really low when you’re grieving and anxieties about going back to work and having normal interactions at work like that can bring about a lot of anxiety for people.”

Because of that feeling of anxiety, both Carn and Douglas have “tried to cut back on alcohol” which they say has really helped.

Another surprising fact? You may think that someone who’s grieving doesn’t want their loved one mentioned, but what surprised Carn and Douglas is that it’s the exact opposite.

“They want to keep hearing their name, they want people to talk about them and keep them alive and keep their memory and their spirit alive,” says Carn.

“If you haven’t gone through a significant loss, you have no idea that’s what people who are grieving want.”

Good Mourning podcast is available on Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

For 24-hour support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.