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Dear Annie: My man's grieving family has shut me out

Dear Annie: I’d been in a loving relationship with my partner for two years when he died and at the time, had plans to move in together. His parents didn’t approve of our relationship. When they arranged his funeral, they said it was for family only – although they had not been close.

I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. I feel robbed of the time we had together, as well as our future. I’m not ready to move on, as I don’t want to lose him all over again, but some days I can barely function. How can I feel strong enough to do that?

Annie says: I’m so sorry you weren’t able to attend your partner’s funeral. I can only imagine how painful that must have been, especially given that funerals are such an important part of the grieving process. I would really encourage you to find a way to mark his death, and your goodbye in your own way. I imagine you shared some friends during your relationship so perhaps you could talk with them about arranging a memorial?

It’s important to participate in the collective grief that will be experienced by all those who loved your partner. What’s more, getting busy with arranging a memorial will allow you to feel connected to your partner, and engaged with your grieving process, rather than forced to ‘get over it’ and move on.

Dear Annie: Since her partner’s funeral, my friend has virtually shut herself away. She goes to work, but always seems to find an excuse when I suggest calling round. Should I do so anyway?

Annie says: You’ll only be sure once you try it, so I say give it a go. Too often I hear people saying they wish that people around them had just taken the initiative and decided what needed doing. The worst that will happen is that your friend will insist she wants to be alone and you’ll have to leave.

But at least you’ll know and she’ll have the comfort in knowing just how much you’re thinking about her and how available you are to her.

If you have a question for Annie to answer in this column, you can write to her at

About Annie

Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.

She is the author of bestselling self-help book We Need to Talk About Grief, inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.

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