Grief: Moving on…

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Grief Counseling

Grief is a natural response to loss. The more significant the loss the more intense our experience of the grief will be.  Grief may be associated with the loss of a loved one, a job, health, or divorce, which can distort our sense of direction or identity. Most losses prompt a need for some sort of change in our lives.

Friends and family may put pressure on individuals to quickly move on from the event. Alexandra Kennedy, a psychotherapist, said that when we avoid dealing with a loss we increase the intensity of the grief that we experience. We eventually learn to carry our grief, not get over it

“It demands a long-term response that can’t be hurried. The majority of adults in Scharlach’s study were still experiencing emotional and somatic reactions one to ten years after the death of a parent.”

  • There is no “normal” time period for an individual to cope with a loss. New research shows that most individuals do not go through the grieving stages in order or experience every single one
    • Here are some strategies that may be useful when a loss has occurred:
      • Discuss the loss: Talk with family and friends to process what happened. Avoiding it may cause frustration and isolation.
    • Accept your feelings: Sadness, anger, frustration and exhaustion are all normal emotions individuals feel after a loss.
    • Take care of yourself and your family: Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are extremely important.
    • Reach out to help others: Helping others will allow you to change your focus and will create a support system.

Celebrate the lives of your loved ones: Allow yourself to honor your relationship in a way that feels right to you.

I read an article today in The New York Times in which a mother lost her daughter suddenly. She went back to work within a few days after the loss and she appeared to be just fine. 6 months later she was exhausted of acting like she felt better and really felt like she was stuck in the grieving process. She decided that she was depressed and went to see a therapist. The therapist asked her to tell her daughter’s story from birth to death. This allowed her to express her loss in a way she had never done before. Patrick O’Malley, a psychotherapist, said that, “The death of her sadness was simply a measure of the love she had for her daughter.”

After losing family member to cancer and suicide over the years I am able to identify with this story. Putting a happy face on and avoiding any emotional feelings that come up does not allow us to begin the grieving process but actually delays it. We are strong, capable, and resilient individuals but it is acceptable to take time during this process and allow the help of other individuals along the way.


~This blog article written by Rachelle Kliewer~

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