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A little bit about grief

Updated: May 14

I thought I would make a post about grief to help make sense of my journey and potentially help others who have experienced loss. It also might explain why I have not done much photography over the last year or so (or posted as much).


This post doesn’t really have any form or structure. So sorry if it doesn’t make complete sense.


One thing I have realised since losing my mum is that the subject of death and grief is not spoken about nearly enough. I find this amazing considering it is something everyone has to experience at some point.


I will give some insights on how I have been and also what things I found helpful in the healing process. There is no right or wrong way to feel and everyone deals with grief in different ways.


My main advice for anyone with loved ones still alive is to make the most of your time with them. Visit them a little bit more, take photos, record their voice, take videos and take the time to talk to them about their life and their wishes. You will honestly feel so much better for it.

(Like myself) my mum hated having her picture taken etc so they were very few and far between. I wish I'd have taken more!


A bit of background.

My mum passed away at Bradford Royal Infirmary on new years Eve 2022 after an 8 week stay in hospital. It was truly traumatic seeing my mum deteriorate and witnessing the life fading out of her. She passed away with my dad and I holding her hands. The last 8 weeks were horrific and she had Covid the last week of her life so didn’t get to see her much at all.


Prior to my Mum dying I thought I was fairly experienced with loss.

I lost various family members whilst I was a child. In my early 20s I lost 2 close friends (Danny & Phil) who sadly passed away in a car crash.

More recently (and something which affected me more than I realised) I,(along with my dad) tried to perform CPR on one of my neighbours. This lasted for over 10 minutes. Sadly he did not make it.


Despite my previous losses, nothing prepared me for the loss of my mum. I cannot put into words what it is like to lose someone who has been a constant throughout my whole life. A person who has showed unconditional love. It changed me as a person instantly and I do not think I will ever be the same again.


After my mums loss I was signed off work (my day job) for around 6 weeks and returned on a phased return. In retrospect I wish I’d have taken longer. It took a long time for the funeral to take place and I went back to work shortly after.

My work were brilliant and my friends at were a great help and very understanding of my situation.


I have suffered with anxiety on and off throughout my life and losing my mum amplified this, my doctor prescribed me some anti anxiety medication. This is not an option I wanted to take at the time but I needed help sleeping and wanted something to take the edge off my worry. They did help and are worth considering if you are feeling like I did. Be cautious they can make you feel worse at first.


My doctor also referred me for grief counselling with Bradford Bereavement Support:  https://www.bradfordbereavement.org.uk

I can definitely recommend the counselling and you can self refer if needed.

It helped get me over the first hurdle and it was good to talk and get things out and help me process some of the issues I was dealing with. I think I had 12 sessions in total and it was fairly quick to organise. I know it’s an option people quickly dismiss but I cannot recommended it enough. (Even if it’s been a long time since your loss). Another good counselling service I was offered was with Cruse bereavement support. From what I can remember you could chat to these online straight away. https://www.cruse.org.uk.


More recently I have been referred for some trauma counselling through BDC therapy. Although referred via my doctor I think this is also a service you can self refer to.

I think the trauma of my mums death has manifested in other ways and I think it’s important to address what I’ve been through and to try and process it.


How has grief affected me

In the early stages of grief I really struggled with accepting and processing anything. I found myself looking into the after life and the possibility of signs of life after death etc. I think in hindsight I was just trying to find any shred of evidence that my mum was ok and that she had gone to a better place. Quite strange because it was something I have never been interested in before.


In general I have definitely lost motivation for lots of things that I used to love. I have become less tolerant.

I think these are pretty common side effects that most people encounter after loss. I have also completely lost interest in photography.


I think the best advice to give in the early stages of grief is not to put any pressure on yourself. Take each day as it comes. I set myself small goals to start with which helped me focus on each day. Activities included things like going for a walk, gardening, sorting out belongings, sorting parts of the house out etc. Just something to occupy the time.


With regards to the social side of my life, unfortunately I was a little bit distant with my friends. I can't really put my finger on why this is but in general I became less active on group chats, failing to respond to messages etc (or being very rubbish at it)

I am quite an antisocial person in general (in terms as socialising in person) but as someone who has always kept in daily contact with most of my friends this has definitely been a big change.


One thing I can definitely recommend is reducing time on social media. I have become aware of how overwhelmed I feel by it at times and as a result I have decided to cull some platforms. After noticing my screen time and realising it was somewhat of an addiction I wanted to do something positive about it.


I am still early days but this has massively helped reduce my anxiety levels.

Despite this change helping my mindset - It was a harder decision for me to make because my accounts are centred around my photography. My accounts have grown so much over the last 1-2 years that I really struggle to keep up with the running of them.

I get a lot of messages and comments and it takes a lot of my time up responding and I feel bad/guilty when I cannot do this.


Planning for the future.

My mums death has made me more aware of my own mortality and what I might leave behind. With this in mind I decided to organise my own possessions. I sorted photos, documents, put in plans for life insurance and pensions and I have left them in a place easy to find for my family. (I know this sounds morbid but it helped). It made me feel in control knowing that my family will have easy access to things they need.


Since my mum died it is important to me (more than ever) to do the things that I think would make her proud. I’ve realised that time is very precious and fragile is.


Some other things I have done which I found helped with the healing process was visiting some of my mums favourite places (York for example). My mum used to talk about foxes all the time. The last time I went to York I was photographing a scene and out of nowhere (on a city street) a fox walked into the frame and stood still whilst I took the photo and then moved on. I considered this to be a sign from my mum.


Another simple thing that helped me. - my mums favourite flower were geraniums. So with the help of my family I planted some of these and placed them by my front door. I thought it was a good symbol - something living that I could see every time I returned home or left the house. This was a big help.


Right I think that is enough of me waffling.


I have managed to get through with the immense support from my wonderful family and friends.I am eternally grateful for this and very lucky to have such a good support network and I hope to be back with some new photography soon. I have currently set myself a goal to try and produce a 2025 calendar.




Thanks for reading ✌️ hopefully there will not be a chapter 2 for quite a while

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Hey Dave.

@Handsoffmybrew here.

I too have lost both my parents sinse we last spoke, and everyone heals differently, I too started searching for the afterlife and what not to try make sense of everything.

It really helped me.

If your free a Thursday evening bankfoot has an amazing spiritualist church, may not be your thing but, it's surely changed my life, and finding the beauty in the little things, your photography had always been amazing, and I'm sure it soothes you in ways you've still yet to experiance.

One. Day. At. A. Time.


Stay Strong ^^

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Thank you so much for the kind words and I am so sorry to hear of your losses. That must have been really hard to go through

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Hi Dave

That explains why you weren't very chatty with my emails.

This is a fantastic read and I hope you do continue to write and share because this helps others, particularly men who don't open up, you are very brave. I think this helps you connect with your fans.


I myself live in Australia so I absolutely live through your amazing photography, and I have Judy Woods on my list to visit, my home town was Keighley !


I am a true believer in spiritual afterlife and can assure you that was definitely a sign from your mum! How rare and unreal was that to see a fox on the streets of York!


Spirit world is listening and all…


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Thank you so much

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All this is so normal Dave and it will take as long as it takes. In my experience and I’ve got quite a lot, the important thing is not to put any pressure on yourself. One day you’ll wake up and want to do one of those things, there’s no knowing when that will be but it will happen. So, much as we’d all like your 2025 calendar, if it’s pressure then please just don’t do it and we’ll look forward to one in the future. If you put less photos up we’re absolutely not going to forget you and will know exactly why. Everyone handles grief in their own particular way, in their own time, and according to their…

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Thank you for the kind comment

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hello Dave , I don't know you at all , but have followed your photography since I also love photography , not as good as you tho , I took lost my mum just before you did , and I've not been the same since I like you also lost touch with all my friends , very unlike me as I'm usually a social butterfly 🦋 , but it did happen , I used to love going out with my camera , and it's only yesterday for the first time I actually enjoyed it , I didnt want to talk to anyone or speak on the phone , it's been 5 years this November since my mum went to heave…

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Thank you for your reply and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mum

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Dave,

Thank you for sharing your story.

I know your Mum would want you to be happy ! So keep doing your thing and enjoy every day.

I personally love your photos and think you are very talented and remember your Mum will always be proud of you !

Please take care of yourself !

Leslie Hoyt

Endicott, New York , USA


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