Blog: Beyond bereavement
Published: 10 May 2018
On Friday 18 May my partner Jane Harris and I will be screening our documentary film ‘A Love that Never Dies’ at the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s West End. This is the UK theatrical premiere and the start of a three-month nationwide cinema tour for a film that started life with a Churchill Fellowship.
In 2015, I travelled with Jane to the USA and Mexico to find out how bereaved parents grieve in those countries. As bereaved parents ourselves (our son Josh died in 2011), we wanted to compare our experience of grief with those we would meet on our travels.
Like many bereaved families, we had found that after a period of time we were expected to move on from the death of our son – that we would sooner or later find closure. That this hasn’t happened has been the cause of some frustration with some (not all) family and friends, from whom we have become quite distanced. We wanted to use the experience of our travels to inform what we think is now an emerging and less hesitant conversation around death, dying and bereavement.
Below: Watch the trailer for ‘A Love that Never Dies’
During an eight-week road trip across the States, we met and filmed 11 different families and two ‘grief experts’. We then spent time in Mexico filming the run-up to the annual ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations.
We set ourselves some basic questions – how do we grieve, why do we grieve and why do we fear those who do grieve? I’m not sure we arrived at any neat and succinct answers, but what our film does do is demonstrate that there are ways of grieving that can be a comfort to those who find themselves struggling with some very difficult emotions, while providing an insight into the unique and timeless nature of grief, especially following the death of a son or daughter.
Grief, after all, is the form love takes after someone has died – a love that never dies.
‘A Love that Never Dies’ is an important film which has already gained considerable media coverage. Jane and I have talked about our work on BBC One’s Breakfast show (Tuesday 8 May) and are due to appear on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour (Friday 18 May).
Below: a still from 'A Love that Never Dies'
We are honoured that John Michie (TV star of Holby City, Coronation Street and Taggert) has agreed to become an ambassador for The Good Grief Project. This is a charity that we started to support other bereaved parents in their grief, especially as they search for new and creative ways of expressing their loss. John’s daughter Louella died in tragic circumstances last summer, aged 25, and he will be among a number of special guests from leading UK bereavement charities who will be joining us for the premiere.
We’d love to see you at the premiere – we promise it will be a very special occasion.