Interview with Griefcast presenter, actor and comedian Cariad Lloyd

Published on 26th June 2019

Cariad Lloyd is an actor, writer, comedian and host of the award winning Griefcast podcast. During Dying Matters Week she interviewed LOROS patron Greg Davies and comedian Barry Castagnola about the death of their fathers.

LOROS spoke to Cariad about Griefcast and why she’s on a mission to talk about death, dying and bereavement.

How did you think of the idea for Griefcast?
My Dad died when I was 15 so death was something I’d always thought about. In 2016 when I was pregnant with my daughter I thought ‘it’s now or never’, so I recorded a couple of interviews with comedians I knew well, like Sara Pascoe, asking them about their experience of grief. Almost immediately I started getting these emails saying ‘this is exactly how I feel. No one talks about this, I thought I was having a breakdown. I feel so much better for talking about this.’ So I realised there was a real need.

Why interview comedians?
Well partly that they are my friends! But also comedians will always make jokes. They’ll always find something funny to say, so it won’t feel sad, it will feel uplifting.

How have your family reacted to the podcast?
They’ve been so supportive. My mum and brother are a bit surprised it’s so popular. My brother has started listening to them all and keeps contacting me when I’ve remembered something wrongly from when we were kids.

In Griefcast you talk about ‘the club’, what’s that about?
Everyone who has lost someone close to them is in the club. Like having a baby, someone you love dying changes you fundamentally. If you’re not in the club, you don’t really get it. Obviously eventually we’ll all be in the club. I’ve been talking about death for 20 years now so I joined early. Some of us get to the party early – we put the nibbles out, get the wine ready, other people join us later when the party is in full swing.

You’ve recorded more than 80 episodes now, there’s obviously a real desire to talk about death more. Are people’s experiences similar?
There’s lots of different types of grief. We’re all in the club but there are lots of different rooms in the club. There’s the people who have lost a loved one to suicide, people who have died very suddenly with no planning, others who had a long and slow build up, others who’ve had dementia and feel they may have lost them earlier. All of them have very different grieving processes.

What unites us is the institutions, the places and the ‘admin’ of death. We’ve all been to the hospital, seen the nurses, palliative care, the funeral directors, the crematorium. The pain and rawness of grief everyone can relate to but actually because your relationship with the person who has died is unique, your grief for them is unique too.

Why do you think Griefcast is so popular?
I think the podcast provides a space for people to talk about death. So they might listen to an episode which inspires them to have a conversation with their mum or sister - which is great.

I get emails from people, saying they’ve done things differently because of the podcast. We keep saying there isn’t a Hollywood moment, there’s no last chat so start talking about it now. Death is going to come and it’s not going to wait so start the conversations now.

It sounds like you’re on a mission…

Yes, I do feel like I’m on a mission! A mission to open up discussion about death. People ask how I can do this but I’m not special I’m just practised at it as I’ve been having these conversations so long. It’s not a unique skill you just need to talk about it regularly.

Have you had the conversation about what you want at the end of your life?

I’m still thinking about what I would like. I keep changing my mind! But yes, I certainly talk about it with my husband. It would be a bit weird if I didn’t wouldn’t it?!

Cariad’s Griefcast interview with Greg Davies and Barry Castagnola, specially recorded for LOROS’ Dying Matters Week, is available now.

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