Grieving for a child: Archbishop of Canterbury and UK Chief Rabbi bear witness to their grief

“Give yourself time. Be honest about your grief, your loss, the lack. It is okay to cry. "

La BBC will unveil a documentary next week titled "Dealing with grief". In this context, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Ephraim Mirvis, shared their painful experience of the loss of a child.

Justin Webly lost his 7-month-old daughter, Johanna, in a car crash. Ephraim Mirvis' daughter Liora died of cancer when she was 30.

Ephraim Mirvis speaks of mourning as "something personal".

“No mourning is the same. If someone comes in and says, 'I know exactly what you're going through', that's wrong. Because grief is personal. When we experience deep loss, it is in us for the rest of our life. And you think about the person every day, and there is sadness. "

The Archbishop of Canterbury begins by returning to the traditional question, "how many children do you have".

“When people ask me how many children I have, I say 'five' because it avoids a lot of complicated discussions, but we always think 'six'. "

He also remembers certain reactions from people around him.

“I remember someone saying to me, 'I'm sure you can have more children.' Probably not what helped me the most at the time. "

But he also remembers a couple of friends who invited him to dinner with his family on the night of the funeral.

“They loved us enough to give us that time, to help us free ourselves from all this force of emotion. Which gift ! We will always remember this evening with gratitude. "

A truth shared by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, who specifies:

“In the course of time, those who have experienced grief find it difficult to remember the words that have been said to them. I think we need to focus on two things. The first is to be there, to be with people, to support them, to surround them with the warmth of your care. The second is practical help, what you can do to help. "

This Christmas season, John Welby evokes "the empty chair".

“At Christmas there will be an empty chair, and it will be painful, deeply painful. "

Then he gives a tip:

“Give yourself time. Be honest about your grief, your loss, the lack. It is okay to cry. "


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