Loosing a loved one is one of the hardest challenges we have to face, it can be overwhelming, I wish that it were spoken about more freely. Bereavement is the one thing, which we will all experience at some point in our lives.
While we often turn to other family members and friends for support, grieving is a process, which we all go through at our own pace, which can vary enormously from person to person. How we react to grief varies greatly, where some people experience overwhelming feelings of sadness and distress, another person may feel nothing. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
So what can we do when our grieving process takes longer or differs significantly from those around us, or we feel that the support we had is on the wane?
Bereavement counselling is very different from other types of counselling, where often there will be a problem the client is wishing to navigate to look for a solution to and often a goal they are looking to achieve.
Bereavement counselling isn’t about finding solutions, there isn’t a solution to grief, you cannot bring your loved one back.
The best way I can explain it to you is that a bereavement counsellor will work with you whilst you learn to cope with your grief and adjust to life without the person who has passed. They will step with you into the darkness and engage with empathy and understanding of what you are experiencing and feel it from your point of view. Bereavement counselling gives you the space and time you need to talk about your loss in an environment free from judgment and without fear of any repercussions, this allows you to find ways to express your feelings towards this loss in order to make it more bearable and ultimately adjust your life. It can help you work through areas of complication or conflict and address things, which have been left unresolved.
Some people find sharing grief with friends and family a healing process, however often it also brings with it lots of opinions on how we should or shouldn’t grieve and judgments around how long you should grieve for. This can create a problem and impact on your healing from a bereavement. This is where bereavement counselling can be useful, as we all experience bereavement differently; you’re not ‘going mad’ you’re just on your own journey and experiencing the loss in a different way.
This process of adjustment has no set timescales and is completely individual to each person. With bereavement counselling we understand that your life isn’t going to go back to the way it was before but what it can help with is find acceptance for what has happened and learning how to enjoy life again. Essentially it is about finding a new normal, you may never stop missing that person but you will learn how to cope and enjoy life again.
One of the most powerful images I have come across in my time working with bereavement and loss is called “The Whirlpool of Grief” by Dr Richard Wilson.
In the illustration the “River of Life”, is the representation of our lives before the bereavement, the whirlpool represents the loss and the chaos we can experience through experiencing that loss.
A bereavement counsellor will help you navigate this and help you grieve in a way to aid the healing process.
If you think bereavement counselling would be useful to you, please give me a call on 07800 968681 or drop me an email to discuss or book an appointment. Secondly, be kind to yourself, this process will take time and can’t be rushed, what you are experiencing is natural and normal.
Self care is important, do things which bring you joy and happiness, that is something which is individual to you, it could be getting out in the fresh air and going for a walk, or watching a movie, getting some exercise or indulging in a long hot bath. Do things, which bring you comfort.
Talking about your loss is important, reminisce, remember, tell stories and share your experiences and memories of the person you have lost. Counselling can provide you with the safe environment to talk about the person you have lost.