IN a workshop this week we talked about the subject of gratitude.

We took a few minutes to think about things in our own lives that we could be grateful for.

Each person listed in turn a number ofthings for which they were thankful.

Popular answers included having a job, being close to nature, enjoying hobbies and pastimes, the loyalty of real friends and time spent with family.

One person though said that she was grateful for the freedom she had in her life to make her own choices.

This led to a conversation about what freedom meant to each of us.

We agreed that in many ways we are exceptionally lucky in this country.

We are free to marry the person of our choice, we can practise whichever religion we choose and at least have a say in who is elected to run the country.

These kinds of freedoms are often taken for granted until they are threatened or taken away.

This week marks eight years since my mother passed away and although it was a very sad time, I was also free to arrange her funeral and grieve in my own time and in the privacy of my own home with my family.

As I watched the Queen’s funeral though, I could not help but think how difficult it must be for the King and the rest of the Royal Family to be denied this most basic of freedoms.

What strength and resilience they must have needed in the past few days.

It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one at the best of times but having to endure the grieving process whilst being scrutinised by the world must feel nigh on impossible.

As I watched King Charles on television what I saw was not just a King but a bereaved son who looked like what heneeded most was a hug.

I hope that amidst all the pomp, ceremony, duties and traditions, he and his family will be allowed some freedom to have the time and space to process their loss in


It was certainly a reminder that whilst there are many troubles in the world rightnow, most of us still retain the freedom to make our own choices.

That, at the very least is something that we can all be grateful for.

Jody Merelle is a psychotherapist and life coach in Devon