After Life Benches: A Chance To Sit And Talk About Grief

Laura Scaife

Netflix has partnered with the CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) charity and donated 25 benches to councils across the UK, to encourage people to open up about grief. There are two in Nottingham, with one on our doorstep in Highfields Park. So what are these benches and why are they so important?

The hit Netflix series After Life, written and directed by Ricky Gervais, follows the story of Tony, a bereaved widow struggling to cope after the death of his wife. At the start of the series Tony pushes his closest friends away and is rude to everyone as he cannot cope with his grief and cannot see the point in living life without Lisa. As the series progresses, Tony begins to find hope again and come to terms with his grief. When visiting Lisa’s grave Tony meets fellow widower Anne. Because she is going through the same struggles as him, Tony can open up and talk honestly about how he is coping with losing Lisa. After Life highlights the importance of opening up and talking to friends and family when processing grief. Through flashbacks of home videos of the couple, it shows how life can never be the same after loss. Tony will never again be able to experience the memories he shared with Lisa. But through talking to his friends and family, and especially to Anne, Tony gradually finds hope that his life will have meaning again, through making others smile.   

The benches in Nottingham are a place to sit and talk with friends or a family member. They are inscribed with the message ‘hope is everything’, reminding visitors that not every day will be easy, but over time you can come to terms with and process your grief. On every bench is a QR code to the website CALM, a charity that supports those going through a bereavement. They have a page on how After Life explores the topic of grief and the value of watching the show to understand your own bereavement. They also have a helpline and webchat offering “free, confidential and practical support” as well as advice and resources on their website.

These benches don’t just need to be a space to discuss bereavement

These benches don’t just need to be a space to discuss bereavement. They can also be a space to talk about university struggles, mental and physical health, or anything you are struggling with. They can even be a space to just sit quietly and reflect on your day. So why not take a seat looking out at our beautiful lake and start talking to a friend? It might just help.

Laura Scaife

Featured Image courtesy of Richard Hemmer via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of netflixuk and rickygervais via instagram.com. No changes made to these images. 

In article images 2 and 3 courtesy of Laura Scaife. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to these images. 

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