We’re back on December 3rd for our second virtual mini festival, on the theme How Grief Affects Family Relationships. Join us for a selection of live and on-demand events to explore the ways bereavement can transform and put pressure on families, the social issues and tensions that can arise after a death, and the many ways in which families can fracture – as well as come together – during this tender time. 

And as we enter the holiday season, when it feels as though the whole world is coming together with their friends and family, we share a few tried and tested tools to make grieving during this time to make it a little easier to bear. 

This event is part of Good Grief Festival’s programme of one-day themed mini-festivals spread out over the coming year. 

Read more about each event and find links to register below:

Bereavement: The Family Stress Test

The death of a loved one often puts family relationships under enormous pressure. Not only are family members coping with a maelstrom of emotions, they are often physically exhausted and doing their best to honour the wishes of the person who has died. Our panel will examine the ways in which a bereavement can put pressure on families and chosen families. We will look at the social issues and tensions that can arise after a death, grief hierarchies and the many ways in which families can fracture – as well as come together – during this tender time.

Saturday December 3rd, 10:00-11:00 GMT

Julia + Amber: Coping with Grief during the Holidays

The holiday season can be an incredibly difficult time of year for those of us who are grieving. This time of collective gathering and gratitude is often hard to bear when a dear one is painfully absent. In this special talk, Julia Samuel and Amber Jeffrey will discuss the unique challenges grievers face during the holiday season and explore some tried and tested tools and strategies to make it easier to bear. 

Saturday December 3rd, 12:00-12:45 GMT

Family Portraits: How Families are Transformed by Grief

Like any good band, no family is ever the same after one of its original members is gone. The death of a loved one can rip the fabric of a family apart, weaving it back together again in a completely new way.

The ripples of their death extend far and wide but it is in the immediate circle of friends and family that those ripples are felt as tidal waves: a force of nature with the ability to destroy and create. We will explore the ways in which families are transformed by death. 

Saturday, December 3rd, 15:00-16:00 GMT


All of the events below will be available to watch on their respective What’s On pages from 09:00 to 18:00 on December 3rd. There’s no need to sign up, just turn up on the day.

The Secrets + Lies we Leave Behind

After someone has died, secrets that were hidden away for a lifetime can resurface in ways that profoundly affect those left behind. In this talk, Julia Samuel speaks to authors Alex Renton and Arifa Akbar about the secrets they uncovered about their families posthumously. 

Grieving Complicated Relationships

One thing that is almost as inevitable as death is the guilt we experience after the death of a loved one. And what if the relationship with that person was a complicated one? Could we have done something differently? Is there something we wish we’d said or done…or not said or done? Interviewed by Dr Lesel Dawson, Julia Samuel offers her expert insight and compassion to those who are struggling with grief after a complicated relationship. 

Every Family has a Story

Why do families matter to us so much, and why do they drive us mad? Why do some families survive enormous adversity whilst others fragment? Bestselling psychotherapist Julia Samuel explores these questions in this discussion about her book, “Every Family Has a Story: How We Inherit Love and Loss.” 

Ruby Wax in Conversation with Julia Samuel

In this session, bestselling author, TV personality, actress and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax joins Good Grief stalwart and leading psychotherapist, podcast host and author Julia Samuel for a conversation about Ruby’s services to mental health and her recent book A Mindfulness Guide for Survival.

Grief at the Kitchen Table

The humble kitchen table and the meals we cook are often the epicentre of the grieving process – a backdrop for our moments of reflection, sadness and laughter. In this talk with Nikesh Shukla, Valentine Warner and Olivia Potts, we hear their personal experiences of bereavement and consider how food can be a uniting factor in facing and moving through grief.

Siddarth Shanghvi: Grieving Multiple Losses

Siddarth Shanghvi bio pic

Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi is a writer whose book Loss draws on a string of devastating personal losses. In this talk, Siddarth joins Dr Lesel Dawson to discuss how new griefs can reawaken the pain of old griefs, and how creativity can allow people to express and think about loss. He considers how death can change the way that we see ourselves, and how it can change our relationship to our parents. 

June + Omar: Disenfranchised Grief + LGBTQ+ Bereavement

June and Omar share their stories of, and advice on, disenfranchised grief and being a part of the LGBTQ community.

What Harry Potter Teaches us about Grief

From Dementors to the Patronus Charm, this panel delves into the magical world of Hogwarts, exploring what Harry Potter has to teach us about bereavement and depression and how we can use these stories to talk to children about grief and other mental health issues.