Artist and current “Forræder” Björg Thorhallsdottir (49) was only 30 years old when she became a widow. 18 years ago, she lost her husband, Eric Scott, with whom she had a son, Tully.
Sadness arose and Thorhallsdottir felt loss and emptiness. I have found that there is no place where you can simply “face” grief with openness, warmth, and honesty.
– I wanted to meet him completely stripped of shame. It’s as if when it comes to death, you have to act a certain way. Don’t cry too much, be like this and that. “But I think all people are different,” she told Dagbladet.
Despite the extremely difficult time, the 49-year-old managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In November 2005, she established the Hjertefred Charity, so that everyone could come together in memories of their loved one, even if that person is no longer with them.
– Lots of darkness and taboos
Next Sunday, 5,000 people will attend for Hjertfried. Thorhallsdottir told Dagbladet that this project is what she is most proud of.
– It started when I was inspired when I was living in Mexico and I was on Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead, editor’s note) and everyone was jumping around in skeleton costumes in the cemetery. It’s actually quite horrific, but they do it with a lot of humor and love.
The 49-year-old testified that people avoided her when she lost her husband. It made her understand that people have a lot to learn about how to talk about grief and how to deal with death.
– I only saw that there was a lot of darkness and taboo around death when I lost my husband, and people didn’t dare to talk to me and went to the other side of the road. They avoided me, but not out of meanness, but because they didn’t know what to say. And I just need a hug.
We are good at dealing with cheerful and happy people, and we may also know how to deal with an angry person, but when it comes to sadness, very few know what to do. People find it really uncomfortable, she continues.
The artist remembers that she missed the warm embrace of love when she was suffering from grief, as she could only come and be welcomed.
— a bit like those of us who were lucky enough to have a grandmother who loved us unconditionally and was going to be there anyway. You should also have this feeling when you come to Hertfried, and I think I managed to create that. There are 5,000 people standing and relieving themselves, and you see that everyone has tears running down their cheeks.
– Very strong
After the memorial service, TV spoke to several people who had improved. “They were left with the experience that it is beautiful to remember the dead, to cry, and to listen to people from the scene talking about those they lost,” she says.
– It’s too strong. Everyone I spoke to said they felt more enthusiastic about life than they had in a long time.
In addition to creating Hjertefred, Thorhallsdottir also offers the Destination Joy cycle. There, along with other famous experts, she teaches many other women how to cope with life and get better.
– The success rate of thousands of women who participated has doubled. I’m so grateful that I have all the tools that I teach myself now, just the breathing, the relationship with the breath, and feeling good about yourself.
One day I met a woman who had just lost her sister, and she said, “I will allow myself to go out and have a little fun today, even though I lost my sister.” It’s like when you’re sad, you’re not allowed to have fun or try to do nice things. Gallows humor is what has saved me my whole life, she says, “and it’s what keeps you from losing your courage.”
-The greatest joy
The 49-year-old tells Dagbladet she is convinced that talking about death and being open about it makes it no longer dangerous.
She experienced this particularly well after having escaped a few weeks earlier from a “traitor” by being “buried” lying in a coffin. Messages quickly flooded her inbox, with many reacting strongly to the episode and believing it was too late.
Death reminds us that we just have to seize the day and live in the here and now. It’s very important. After the strong reactions I received after the film “The Traitor,” it appears more clearly that our relationship with death is complex.
Thorhalsdottir believes that if grief is not addressed, it will remain a dark companion for the rest of life.
– I believe that when there is peace within people, there will be peace on earth and in all homes. When you walk around sad, you walk around with a lot of pain. If it is addressed, you will be able to think about the person you miss and feel grateful to have them in your life.
The TV file says she didn’t feel happy just thinking about herself and her sadness. What really helped her ease her grief was helping others.
– This feeling of helping another person is greater than anything else in the whole world. There is nothing you can compare it to. She concluded that the happiness of seeing that you have helped others is the greatest joy of all.
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