Grief A Ball in a Box? And where to go for Help.

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When working as a celebrant and as a nurse in a Hospice it is clear to me that often we all need a little help or someone to talk to.

Everyone experiences grief in different ways, with painful emotions often returning at unexpected times.

The analogy suggests grief is like a box with a ball in it and a pain button on one side.

In the early stages, the ball is very big. You cannot move the box without it frequently hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over again, sometimes so much that it feels like you can’t stop it – you can’t control it – it just keeps hurting.

But as time goes on, the ball gets smaller. It doesn’t disappear completely and when it hits the pain button, it’s just as intense, but generally, it is easier to get through each day.

As time goes on the ball deflates but still on occasions as it ricochets around the box it hits the pressure pad and all those feelings of grief and loss come flooding back for a moment. This may be when we hear a certain song, or perhaps we see someone in a crowd who looks a little like the one we have lost, sometimes it can be as simple as seeing their favourite soup on a supermarket shelf.

Grief is complex and we can sometimes feel overwhelmed. This can often be in the middle of the night and not conveniently in office hours. The resources offered here are for the times when we may all need to reach out and seek a little help or a listening ear. If you ever feel like this then please do call one of the numbers or help lines below.


24 hour support lines

  • Samaritans 116 123 UK. For anyone at anytime for any reason
  • ChildLine 0800 1111 support for 18 years and their relatives
  • Silverline 0800 470 8090 support for the over 50s

Day and evening support lines

  • Sudden bereavement helpline 0800 2600 400 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM Monday to Friday
  • National bereavement partnership helpline 0800 448 0800 7:00 AM till 10:00 PM for emotional support
  • Cruse 0808 808 1677  national bereavement support Monday to Friday 9:00 AM till 8:00 PM Saturday Sunday 1:00 till 4
  • Child bereavement UK 0800 028 8840 9-5 daily
  • Child death helpline 0800 282 986 every evening 7 till 10:00 PM. weekdays 10:00 AM till one
  • Grief talk 0808 802 0111 support for anyone to grief talk from any phone for free Monday to Friday 9:00 AM till 9:00
  • SANDS Stillbirth and Neonatal Death 0800 164 3332
  • SOBS Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide 0300 111 5065
  • The Lullaby Trust (support for sudden infant death Syndrome) 0808 802 6868
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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Great website Tina, wishing you the very best of luck in your new venture. You are going to be brilliant in your new vocation, your customers will be lucky to have found you.

  • Jane Hunter
    02/09/2021 9:25 am

    Thank you for a very interesting blog. The image of grief as a ‘”ball in a box” resonated with me and seemed a very clear and visual explanation of the randomness of grief responses


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