The Death podcast: Grief never leaves, it just evolves

Grief doesn't ever stop, it just evolves.

Mark Longley's daughter Emily was murdered in 2011 when she was 17 years old.

In 2014, three years after Emily's death, Mark's son Hunter was born.

"That their lives never crossed has been one of the most painful aspects of my grief," Mark says.

"I know she would have loved him."

While some cultures outwardly mourn their lost loved ones, for the most part, grief is invisible.

"If my wounds had been visible, I would have been in the hospital. Nurses and doctors would have been working to keep me alive. There would have been a long recovery, and rehabilitation back into the real world," Mark says.

"But in grief, the wounds are internal. No one can see them, so you just return to your old life with very little in place to support you."

Sophie Hill lost her dad to suicide when she was 19. When she was 34, her mum died suddenly from a brain aneurysm.

The Death podcast: Grief never leaves, it just evolves
Photo credit: Newshub

Sophie Hill had only been in her new job for a month when her mum died. She was given two weeks off work and didn't feel she could ask for more time off.

She says workplaces need to offer more support to staff - checking in with staff, offering counselling and more time off if needed would go a long way to establishing a more supportive culture.

Mark agrees and says he sometimes found it difficult working as a journalist when some of his colleagues would cover the news of Emily's murder.

He says there's a lot Pakeha can learn about Maori traditions around death.

"Tangihanga, or tangi, is the Maori funeral rite, and traditionally lasts three days. It isn't just a funeral and burial, but rather it includes the preparations, the mourning, the burial, and then the work there is to be done after the guests leave. The tangi strengthens relationships, with the living and the dead.

"In Maori culture, the dead are very much a part of our lives. They are recognised, spoken about, and spoken to."

Mark says his grief for Emily is now a part of him - intertwined in his life. To let go of the grief would feel like a betrayal.

While grief evolves and never leaves, Mark says he had to let go of the anger he felt towards his daughter's murderer, Elliot Turner.

But he says there's still something he needs to do to remove Turner from his life completely. He has to forgive him.

Death: A podcast about love, grief and hope is available on Rova, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Spreaker, and all major podcast platforms.

Newshub.