Upper Beeding woman uses her grief to help others

Joanna with her sister Julie who tragically died
Joanna with her sister Julie who tragically died

An Upper Beeding woman who went through the tragedy of losing her parents, sister and best friend within less than three years, is using her grief to help others.

Joanne Arrowsmith has written a song dedicated to her loved ones and hopes it can bring some comfort to others who are grieving.

“I really want to be able to help others going through grief,” she said.

“I have suffered a lot of loss in a short space of time – firstly losing both my mum and dad to cancer, my sister then died suddenly and a day after her funeral, my best friend Libby suddenly died.

“Libby’s death hit me so hard and continues to do so. I never really knew what the term rock bottom meant until I was in it.

“But then one day when someone told me I was strong and said ‘they would all be so proud of you’, I sat and thought about that statement for a bit – it struck a chord of some kind.

Joanne Arrowsmith from Upper Beeding is using her grief to help others

Joanne Arrowsmith from Upper Beeding is using her grief to help others

“So this past year I have been on a journey – a journey of self re-discovery. And as I am gradually rising from the dark place I was in, I have written a song that I would like to share called Proud.”

The 39-year-old, who runs a dog walking business and is originally from Brighton, said when she was in a dark place she started to think she did not want to live anymore.

She said having to survive the loss of people she thought she could not live without brought pain, shock, emptiness and numbness.

“I was still trying to grieve for one of my loved ones when another would die,” she said.

Joanne tragically lost both her parents

Joanne tragically lost both her parents

“People kept telling me how strong I was. They would see my smile, see me up on stage singing and entertaining people but the truth was, I felt like I was dying inside.

“My best friend Libby died less than 24 hours of being admitted to hospital from sepsis. I am trying to raise awareness of sepsis too.”

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Joanna with her best friend Libby who tragically died from sepsis

Joanna with her best friend Libby who tragically died from sepsis

Joanne has been writing songs and singing in different bands for years. But she had not written anything for some time, she said, but felt like she needed to get her feelings out and write this song.

“I wanted to do something positive out of such a tragedy,” she said, adding: “As soon as I started writing it the words started flowing. My singing and performances were so important to the people I lost. My mum, dad and Libby would be at every gig they could and their support over the years was wonderful.”

Joanne said the response to the song had been ‘amazing’.

“People who have lost loved ones have contacted me saying how much it meant to them,” she said.

“Grief is an ongoing thing – I still have bad days, but I am in a much better place than before. I just want people to know that they are not alone and they will get through the pain.”

Joanne said mindfulness, meditation, being kind to herself and self care has got her through her grief.

Keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it daily for the things that she still has to do in her life has also helped, she said.

“Reading daily affirmations, feeding the birds every morning, growing and caring for plants, I’ve been discovering new things that bring me peace,” added Joanne.

“My dog walking business has been amazing too – it has helped me to get up in the mornings knowing I was going to be seeing happy furry faces who were so excited to see me and going walking together out in nature, watching

them be in the moment.”

Libby paid thanks to the ‘brilliant’ musicians – Tessa Gilles on violin, Phil Ward on Bass, Michael David Bickers on guitar and Francesco Bonini, recorded and mixed by Ben Brockett at Route 49 Studios, Brighton. Thank you also to Ruari Barratt for putting the wonderful music video together for me.”