Loss and grief can hit in so many ways. By Harriet Bremner.

F ive and a half years and one would like to think grief and its journey gets easier – because society says it should. Although it doesn’t get easier, it gets different, it is survivable. As hard as it may be, having help or someone to talk to, I have found, is paramount to your own ability to learn how to cope.

Grief rears its head at times, in places. I have found that due to my partner going on a study trip around the world, my grief has been triggered in ways I never saw coming.

So, I have started grief support again and with a woman I am excited to introduce to you. Even though it felt daunting to reach out to someone new it was the most relieving thing I could do for myself.

Hannah Rae is a former irrigation engineer and high-achieving endurance athlete with the talent to boot whose life had a complete make-over when grief hit her really hard.

In the months following her 30th birthday, Hannah was faced with the traumatic loss of her best and only trusted friend amid the heartbreaking cancer battle her father was facing, then losing her grandfather a few months later.

Like me, she always had a full plate as she bumbled through life following the steps and expectations of a high achiever but had never stopped to think about what she truly wanted for herself. Reaching her next goal was imminent and she was always sure that next achievement would make her happy. Completing the Coast-to-Coast longest day would be the thing that fulfilled her happiness but then when it passed she was left with that feeling of hollowness. She thought she should have her shit together at 30 years old. To others, life looked good, successful and lucky but for Hannah on the inside, this was not the case.

Fast forward to the loss of her most beloved people, Hannah’s grief forced her into re-evaluating her life. She knew what she wanted to do but stepping into life beyond losing three important people and letting go of what people thought of her was going to be hard.

After her father’s passing Hannah went on a roadie up the West Coast. She forced herself to be on her own entirely, with no phone, no podcasts, music or distractions, just her and nature while she walked. She gave herself the space to be herself and not worry how that affected anyone else.

She said it is so important for us to all have a space where we can feel totally at peace and for her, it is heading into the bush and being with nature, for me it is riding my horse on the farm, with my dogs.

We are lucky to live in a country where we have free access to so many different aspects of nature. I Interviewed Hannah for this column in the sun on a beach in Manapouri, after weeks of fog and slogging around in the mud. It was the most refreshing hour of my week.

People were approaching her informally for advice and so she built this into a framework – all while still engineering part-time.

She wanted to create a platform that allowed an opportunity for people to have access to a grief coach where they can talk openly and honestly about their challenges, frustrations and eye-rolls to someone who truly understands what it is like to live with heavy grief.

Having now worked with Hannah for three of her 12-week courses, her ability to bring me into the now and stop the frantic worry that has been haunting me has been a game-changer.

I am reminded I cannot control what I cannot control. I really thought the hard part of my grief and trauma had been dealt with but life has reminded me we must focus on our wellbeing, otherwise it slips by the wayside. I thank Hannah for her support.

You can find Hannah on social media through: Instagram @withhannahrae, Facebook: Hannah Rae, Email: withhannahrae@gmail.com

Hannah’s story of honesty and life is not only inspiring but motivating to those around her that anything is possible. If you do one thing for yourself, do this – you won’t regret it, I promise.