Welcome to the club you never wanted to join.

When someone you love dies, it may seem impossible to know what will happen next and how you will cope. Losing someone in early adulthood, you may feel even more alone, when no-one around you seems to have had the same experience.

Our letters don’t have all the answers, but they do have some – because we’ve been through it ourselves. Some of us have written to ourselves back on that first day of grief, with the reassurance that we will get through those awful first months. Others share snippets from our grief journeys – from the experience of therapy, to the power of getting creative.

Encompassing all types of loss, these stories show that there is no one way to grieve. They talk honestly about grief – the sad, the bad, and the surprisingly beautiful.

Welcome to the Grief Club, we’re so glad you’ve found us.

Get to know some of our contributors

Tim was 14 when his mum died of cancer. In his letter
he is speaking to his younger self in the weeks after her death
where triggers are painful and plentiful. From the time of the
day to the food you eat, at times it feels like it could be that
way forever.

Shirin is a solicitor and the co-founder of South Asian
Sisters Speak (SASS). She was 25 years old when her dad died
from a rare rapidly degenerative neurological condition. In
her interlude she explores the loss of cultural rootedness as a
bereaved child of an immigrant.

Jermaine was 23 when his dad died, and his mother passed away two weeks before his 25th birthday. In his letter he speaks to his younger and newly bereaved self about the reality of grief and how to navigate through it.
Jessi has cerebral palsy and uses a powered wheelchair. Their letter is written to their teenage self, honouring the memory of Vicky, a dear school friend. It explores the impact of multiple bereavements as a young disabled person, along- side the solidarity that can arise from shared experiences of repeated grief.
Kylie was diagnosed as autistic at age 25. In her letter she speaks to younger versions of herself at the points of bereavement, explaining why she experienced delayed grief.

Gavin lost his wife to cancer in late 2020. In his letter
he lets a newly grieving widower know what he might come
to expect.

Hussain has written the Foreword for the book and writes to himself about everything he has learnt since the death of his mother.

Tagged ‘The Original Mummy’s Boy’, Hussain’s debut poetry collection Life is Sad and Beautiful was published in 2022.

Megan was 22 years old when her 20-year-old little brother Billy died in a freak motorcycle accident in Thailand. Her letter is full of the love, reassurance and hope she wishes she had received when she began her grief journey in 2018.

Francesca was 28 years old when her dad, Ian, died of liver cancer. In her letter she shares the notes she wrote during the first two years of bereavement entitled “Things I’ve learnt about loss”.
Molly was 26 years old when she experienced the loss of her grandmother and both grandfathers, all in a matter of weeks. In her letter she advises her younger self about the expectation versus reality of grief and how to manage this in a new working environment.

Chanelle was just nine years old when she suddenly lost her identical twin sister in an accident. In her letter she writes about the journey of struggling to find her own individual identity and the challenges she experienced along the way.

Ryan was seven years old when his dad died from a brain tumour. In his letter, Ryan writes to his younger self advising him on how to deal with the journey of grief that lies ahead.
Saijal addresses cultural and societal expectations of grieving, as well as pressures we put on ourselves to “grieve well”. She writes to uplift others, particularly those who lost someone suddenly or younger than expected. Saijal tells herself that death is not the opposite of life; it is the consequence of life – of having breathed, experienced, felt and loved.
Tom was 21 when his little brother, Ben, died. In his interlude he explains how his grief intensified his suicidal thoughts.

Rebecca-Monique is an ICF accredited grief and trauma coach, supporting individuals in normalising and living with their pain so they can enjoy healthy, authentic lives. Aged 8, Rebecca-Monique lost her adopted mother to a heart attack. Find out more about Rebecca-Monique’s work and listen to her podcast
via rbccmnq.com.

Phil was 20 years old when his mum died from cancer. In his interlude he gives some tips to help men open up about their grief.
June lost their brother, who was gay, to cancer in 2015. In this letter, they speak to their younger self about the journey of recognition of their own queerness after this loss, and the honour of carrying their brother’s legacy.

Joel was in his twenties when he lost his mum to cancer.
In his letter he writes to himself in the early days of grief.

Marie-Teresa was 21 years old when her mum died from cancer. In her letter, she guides her younger self through the process of grief.
Kate was 17 years old when her dad died of cancer in 2007. In her letter, she invites her younger self to talk about loss and not bottle it up. As a trustee for Let’s Talk About Loss, Kate is now convinced by the importance of exploring the feelings and struggle of grief personally and with others.
Fred was 21 years old when his dad died of a brain tumour. His interlude explores the theme of clashing memories, focusing on coming to terms with the conflicting healthy and ill versions of his dad.
Rachel was 31 years old when her mum died, after living with a brain tumour for 20 months. In her poetic interlude she shares how her experience of grief has impacted her experience of happiness.
Etain was 15 years old when her mother died of cancer. Her mother was a single parent and Etain is an only child, so Etain’s auntie took guardianship of her. Her piece explores their relationship over time.
Milly was 16 years old when her dad died from a heart attack, and 21 years old when her mum died from multiple organ failure. In her letter she speaks to her younger self about the profound impact grief can have weeks, months and years after a loss.
Adelana lost her long-term boyfriend Henry at the age of 23 in 2019. In her letter she speaks to her younger self about choosing to live life to the fullest and the difficulties of discussing a complicated and complex death.
Amy was 21 years old when her mum died from a ruptured brain aneurysm. In her letter she talks to her younger self about anniversaries and unexpected emotions.
Sasha lost her mum to cancer shortly after her 16th birthday. In this letter she writes poetically about grief and how at such a young age she felt a huge responsibility to ‘succeed’ at grieving and felt that showing her true emotions was failure.
A photo of Beth, a white woman with long brown curly hair

As co-Editor for the book along with Kate, Beth wrote the Introduction and Conclusion and had the privilege of reading all the contributions. Within the book, she speaks to her siblings about grief and together they have written a piece about how grief is different between family members.

Our amazing publishers are Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and we are so thankful for their support in bringing this project to life. Thank you especially to Elen who believed in the idea, and to Hannah, Gracie, Pauli, Charlotte and many more people at JKP who have turned a dream into a reality!

Did you miss our online launch event? Watch it back here!