Well, there are only two real guarantees with grief I think:
•    It’s universal – all of us at some point in our lives will experience grief in some way;
•    It’s individual – each of us will respond to and connect with grief and the process of grieving in our own way.

It may be the loss of a loved one; there may be specific circumstances around a death that impact significantly on grief and our grieving; or it may the experience of a life-changing accident or trauma; the death of a beloved pet as our only companion; the loss of a job or relationship, a home...

How we work with and through that experience of loss is individual to each and every one of us.  And that process may become stuck, interrupted, complicated by other external or internal factors.

When we are experiencing grief and trying to work our way through it, it can be very easy somehow to think that we aren’t getting it right; or that everyone else has moved on somehow.

Perhaps that’s a further guarantee of grief and grieving:  There’s no “right or wrong” way of dealing with it.

Of course there are common themes and experiences; recurring processes and emotions; different stages as we adjust to a new life living with loss.

But how we deal with it, how we connect with it and engage with it, and how we ultimately learn to live through it and with it are all uniquely individual processes.

So, is it possible to prepare for grief and grieving?  As I write that I feel as though I am asking a question that’s impossible – after all, how much do we prepare ourselves for our own death and dying let alone for the death of another?

Perhaps the “only” preparation we can do is actually to acknowledge that it will happen.  I say “only” because that seemingly little task is fraught with huge emotion isn’t it?  But it’s a start.

In order to work through grief and come out the other side, I think there’s an essential need to be prepared beyond that initial acknowledgment, to acknowledge our feelings and be honest about them.  And that can be immensely difficult – never underestimate that.

It’s a huge process.  And grief carries another guarantee as well:  That no-one supporting or watching another through grief and grieving always has the right words to say.  If you are currently experiencing grief and are struggling with the process of grieving, right now I would simply say “Trust yourself and hold on to what is important for you”.

Perhaps there are also some final guarantees of grief:  We will be changed by it; And it is possible to learn to live with it in our life.

So far more than my two initial guarantees then.

Take care and look after yourself.