About us News and stories Blogs "Keeping body and mind in harmony works for me." What helped me cope with my son's death and my subsequent illness By Efrem Brynin, co-founder of StrongMen I’ve come to genuinely understand what works for me – keeping body and mind in harmony. My son James, aged 22, died in October 2013, serving with the army in Afghanistan. It was a huge shock - everything changed in an instant and it took weeks and months to even process the changes; even now it has an impact on all aspects of our lives and probably always will do. I went back to work relatively quickly, around a month after James died on the basis of people saying it’s good to take your mind off things. Actually, it just added to the stress. Four years after we lost James, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It’s a huge hit to your confidence when you lose someone close to you and another massive knock when you become ill to the extent that you might die. People say that the worst thing in the world is to be told you have cancer but that’s not the worst thing in the world – the worst thing in the world is to be told your child has died. Since James died and I became ill, I’ve come to genuinely understand what works for me – keeping body and mind in harmony. I live by a routine, plan things in advance to make sure I do them and I record them in a diary afterwards as a record of my achievement. I accept that there are always going to be bad times and bad days but it’s good to get something positive out of that so for me doing something that’s on my list is a step in the right direction. Sometimes I can feel difficult feelings coming and I’ll go out for a walk for half an hour to help me reset and start again. There are so many positive things to live for, so I feel it’s incumbent on me to enjoy the rest of my life for me, my daughter, my wife and for James, who isn’t able to. Child Bereavement UK is privileged to work with StrongMen to train peer supporters who are offering support to others through the charity's Man2Man service. Visit our page: How we can support you for more on our services. You can also call our Helpline 0800 02 888 40, email [email protected], or use Live Chat on our website.