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A guest blog about grief by Jo Betz

A guest blog about grief by Jo Betz

After the death of a loved one, you are thrust into a whole new world, the world of grief. It’s a place no one really wants to be.

When my husband suddenly died of an asthma attack in 2017 my whole life was turned upside down in so many ways. Suddenly I was widowed and also the solo mother of a four-year-old daughter. The impact of my husband’s death was huge in so many ways – emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. I knew that what was happening to me was way beyond something I could manage on my own and so I began to look for ways to support myself in grief, with the help of others.

We are incredibly lucky in Geelong to have some wonderful bereavement organisations who advocate for those that are grieving and offer their support too. While I had never encountered these organisations before, once they were brought to my attention, I reached out and was overwhelmed by how kind, compassionate and supportive they were.

Here are my experiences with these local organisations along with a journal I wrote that has helped me explore my own grief:


I first reached out to Hope Bereavement in the weeks following my husband’s death. They are a not for profit organisation that offer free information, support and counselling when grieving the death of a child, the sudden and unexpected death of an adult and those experiencing loss after suicide.

I felt like they were an organisation that understood the suddenness of my loss and the grief that I was experiencing. I had a few counselling sessions with them, and they allowed me to cry, let all my feelings out, as well as access information I could take home with me and read when I was ready. They were incredibly compassionate, and they also offer regular support groups that can be joined at any time.

I am so grateful I came across them and will never forget the kindness they showed me. They believe no one should feel alone in their grief, and I didn’t feel alone when I had the support of Hope Bereavement.


Becoming a solo mother of a grieving child is such a tough role to take on, and I still often feel completely in over my head when it comes to this. I reached out to Wombat’s Wish in 2018 to see if myself and my daughter (who was five) could attend one of their camps that took place in Anglesea

Approximately 100 children in Geelong experience the death of a parent each year and currently Wombat’s Wish is the only service that offers support to these children. It makes me so happy they do. As a parent it’s difficult to know where to turn to for support for your grieving child. Wombat’s Wish run camps where a group of children, and their parent attend and they spend a weekend doing activities that are fun and practical ways to encourage children with teamwork, building their sense of confidence while touching on their grief too. The best part is that it allows children to see they are not alone and that there are other children who have lost a parent too. As a parent, it was also a chance for me to connect with other parents who had lost partners, and to this day, I still keep in contact with some of them.

Once again, I cannot thank Wombat’s Wish enough for the love and care they showed me and my child and it’s comforting to know that we might be able to attend another camp in the future too.


Since my grief journey began, I’ve realised how alone we can often feel in grief. More recently I have created a Grief journal to help others explore their grief.

Grief – a guided journal was created for those wishing to explore their grief through writing, after the death of a loved one.

Whether the loss occurred six months ago, or six years, the journal is a safe space to journal on a variety of topics. From the stages of grief, connection and anger, to loneliness, gratitude, regret and more – guided writing prompts are provided every step of the way.

The journal provides an opportunity to lean into grief, to not shy away from those unsettling feelings. To simply let it all out.

Through the proven therapeutic benefits of writing, the journal allows people to self-explore, heal and improve their wellbeing.

This journal can also be a gift to people who you know are grieving. In a time when you want to help and don’t know how, this can help. They may not open this journal for a year, that’s okay, simply pop it on their shelf, and they can get to it when ready.

Since putting this journal together, it was really important that I give back to the bereavement organisations that have supported me, so 5% of each book sale via my website goes towards Hope Bereavement and Wombat’s Wish.

If you’re interested in seeing more about the journal, or purchasing, you can head here.

It’s so important that we look after ourselves in grief and reach out for help when needed, I feel incredibly lucky that Geelong has these organisations to help support us all.

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