Living with the loss

If you have suffered a loss and would like to talk please call us on 01737 363222 or email

CRY has a network of individuals who have suffered a tragedy, all of whom have done our Skills Course and are available to support others through their loss.

If a specific diagnosis of cause of death cannot be made, such deaths are classified as death from natural causes. Yet there can be nothing less natural than to lose an active young person in this way. Frequently there have been no apparent symptoms. Usually the young person will have died whilst engaged in some perfectly normal activity of eating, drinking, taking exercise or in their sleep.

With Sudden Death Syndrome, not only has there been no preparation for such a death as in terminal illness, nor is the death accidental when there is an obvious and direct link between an occurrence and the tragic consequences. This can lead to those closest to the one that has died blaming themselves for overlooking possible symptoms. Dealing with their terrible loss is then compounded by feelings of guilt.

The death of a child or young adult is so totally out of order with the sequence of life that it can have devastating consequences within the family.

Sharing the way you feel about what has happened is very important. It is not always easy to do this with others that are suffering directly from the same loss.

Sometimes there can be a great deal of anger about what has happened.

Sometimes trying to cope with the feelings of other family members can exacerbate the grief you are trying to come to terms with.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand and accept that men and women can grieve in very different ways.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that children need special attention at this time. Their needs can so easily be overlooked.

Sometimes family members literally wonder if they are going mad with grief, and are fearful of sharing such thoughts with others that they love.

Sometimes there is a terror of letting members of the family out of sight and immediate control, in case the same thing could happen again.

Sometimes there is the knowledge that the condition that has been diagnosed could be inherited with all the serious, and ongoing implications.

Sometimes you will need to talk things through with a professional counsellor, and sometimes you might crave to talk to someone else who has suffered in similar circumstances to your own.

Alison Cox is a Bereavement Counsellor whose aim in founding CRY in May 1995 was to help families who had suffered from a young sudden cardiac death (Sudden Death Syndrome)


Devastating grief is not just something that will affect your emotions. It can also have physical consequences that leave you exhausted, feeling sick and unable to eat or sleep. When there has been a young death from a heart disorder, particularly if there is a potential for this to have been a genetic condition, family members can subsequently start suffering from breathlessness, chest pains and dizziness – all recognisable cardiac symptoms which can in themselves be frightening.

Such a reaction is completely normal at times of intense stress, and shock. It could help you to talk about them, and might be useful if this can be with someone other than your own direct family who might be afraid of what this means.

You may find it easier to adjust to what is happening if you can find someone to share it with, who you can talk to about your true feelings, no matter what they are. If you bottle up these feelings they will probably resurface later. They can go deep inside and although you might temporarily feel you have them under control – expressing them, recognising them and thus including them in your life can help you move forward through a period of readjustment to reconstructing a world that you know will never be the same again. Now is a time of enormous grief and devastation. You might find it difficult to believe that the weight of this grief will ever be lifted from you. It can take months for the immediate shock to recede and a lot longer for the raw hurt to ease.

Grieving is not something that can fit into a specific slot. Each person will feel the need to cope with their loss in a different way.

Alison Cox MBE, CRY Chief Executive

The development of CRY’s counselling programme was initially funded by a 3-year grant awarded by the Department of Health