No Visible Scar by Richard Littledale

Navigating your way through grief in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.

As the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh showed, normal ways of mourning and saying goodbye are not allowed in Covid restrictions. As the public have reacted to this sad occasion, they have reflected on their own personal loss during the last year, and it has opened up a national conversation about how the restrictions imposed by the lockdown have added extra levels of grief that perhaps others do not see.

Losing a loved one can be a lonely, isolating and disorientating experience. This has perhaps been felt even more keenly in the time of a global pandemic. Many have experienced the traumatic situation of losing someone with no one there to hold their hand or hear their cry. Mourning has been done quietly and unobserved.  Loved ones have been laid to rest with few to witness it.

As the pandemic recedes and people talk about returning to normal life, how do you navigate your way through grief when your life will never be the same again?

Written by the author of Postcards from the Land of Grief, which was a response to the loss of his beloved wife, No Visible Scar is Richard’s pastoral response to the need he has seen within his sphere of ministry.  He wrote it now, as the country starts to talk about returning to normal, as he recognised that this very fact can be so painful to the bereaved. He says: ‘The definition of normal tends to be “what we used to know”.  For anyone who has been bereaved, that situation cannot and will not come again. The drive towards a normality (where the person you have lost is absent) can feel like a drive away from a person whom you continue to love.’

Richard covers issues such as not being able to be with someone as they died, not being able to physical hold them, or say good bye at a funeral, and also the less obvious wounds of the loss of your one person in a sea of statistics, life behind the mask and ‘digital ghosts’.

This little booklet has been priced as low as possible to enable as many as possible to benefit from it, and so it is also available in packs of 25 and 50 as well. Richard says: ‘The multipacks are intended for use by chaplains, funeral directors, churches, local authorities and others.  The numbers of people affected by loss during the pandemic are so high that the need is great.  I am hoping that many of these organisations will buy the bulk packs and then give them away to those in need.’

Richard hopes this book will help people ‘feel that someone understands their pain, and that they will find both comfort and advice within its pages.’

No Visible Scar is a gentle and comforting guide to help people understand their feelings after losing someone in this specific lockdown period and help them deal with their grief in a way that is right for them. The booklet is published by Authentic Media. ISBN 9781788932288, £1.99

RICHARD LITTLEDALE is Minister of Newbury Baptist Church, an author, preacher, BBC broadcaster and, above all, a highly skilled communicator, innovator and expert storyteller. Richard contributes to religious programming on BBC Radio 4 and is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire.

Richard can be contacted at minister@newburybaptistchurch.org

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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale