Endings …. and new beginnings
I returned to my desk this week after a lovely summer break. The summer is always a good time for me to recharge my batteries and returning to one of my favourite beach spots in Italy – after a 3-year Covid enforced absence – really boosted my energy levels. I am looking forward to the term ahead, re-engaging with my mentees and their families, meeting some new mentees and putting some new ideas into practice.
On a sadder note, my thoughts join the Royal family and the rest of the nation as we mourn the death of our Queen Elizabeth II. For 70 years the only sovereign most of us have known. When she died last Thursday, I was in London with a good friend visiting the UK from Canada. We were at St Paul’s cathedral when we heard of her deteriorating health and the theatre when her death was announced. It is, no doubt, one of those times in history when we will all remember where we were when the Queen died. After the theatre, we paid our respects at Buckingham Palace. It was a sad and sombre time though an opportunity to reflect on a long and full life.
Dealing with grief and bereavement is, unfortunately, something we will all face during our lives. National grief can remind us of our own private losses. I was very fortunate to engage in bereavement training this summer for some volunteering work I am starting. I gained a greater insight into how death impacts our lives. I have been considering grief and bereavement through an autism lens, recognising that whilst we will all experience this in different ways, for autistic people there may be added challenges with expressing their feelings, communicating their empathy, feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty and the level of news coverage. There is little research into bereavement and autism. If you are looking for guidance for yourselves or your children and young people, the National Autistic Society website has some useful information https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/mental-health/bereavement.
However we may feel about the continuation of the monarchy, our new King begins his reign on an international stage, whilst coping with the loss of his own dear Mother. He will forsake many of his own interests to take his position as head of the Crown. I find it useful to consider his legacy, the Prince’s Trust, and share his belief that all young people can achieve their potential with the right opportunities.