talkhealth meets… Lianna Champ
Studies show that approximately three million people experience some form of grief each year in the UK and Ireland. Even though lots of people go through loss, everyone's experience with it is different and many people don't have the tools to reframe grief positively.
Earlier this month, Lianna Champ Grief Counsellor and Bereavement Expert, hosted a webinar all about reframing death as a positive for personal growth.
Here, she answers our questions about how she got into funeral directing, tips for grief, and a big misconception…
I know you wanted to become a funeral director from the age of nine. Why are you so passionate about the profession?
The profession picked me! At the age of nine, I knew nothing about funerals, grief or death, but I know that I often felt other people’s sadness. Looking back, I must have subconsciously known that being a funeral director would naturally put me in front of hundreds of grievers who I would go on to help.
How have views of death and grief changed over the time you have been working in the area?
Death has always been a taboo subject, it’s only now that we are realising the importance and benefits of talking about our feelings around death, dying and funerals.
We let funerals take us by surprise but it's the one thing that we know will happen to us all. We are seeing a shift to celebrating a life rather than loss and giving thanks for having known that person.
What is the biggest misconception surrounding grief?
So many think that there are stages of grief, but there aren’t. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages of grief but these stages are following the diagnosis of a terminal illness and have mistakenly been transferred to death.
Why is it important to reframe grief as a positive thing?
If we don’t start considering death as a springboard for life, we can’t move forward. It starts with realisation, acceptance and continuation.
Grief isn't only about losing a loved one but also things like jobs etc. Are different types of grief different in how they materialise?
To put it plainly, grief is grief - and it is always experienced at 100%. It might seem that people are treating it differently but we learn our coping mechanisms from the adults around us as children and these determine how well we cope with all loss in adulthood.
What are your top tips for someone going through grief?
- Whatever you feel, is right for you. Don’t ignore your instincts and let yourself feel the sadness and pain.
- Find words for how you feel and share them with someone you trust.
- Learn the difference between guilt and regret.
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Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 25 May 2023
Next review: 25 May 2026