Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Are you having difficulty coping? Are you having trouble with day-to-day tasks? Do you feel like your brain is in a fog? You may be struggling with feelings of sadness, with feelings of fear or unknowing how to move forward with your life. Life looks different now that a loved one has passed. You want to move on but instead you feel stuck, unsure of what to do next.
Grief is a difficult and very individual process. Society sometimes asks of us that we grieve very quickly or get over our feelings sooner rather than later. Grief doesn’t always have a neat timeline. It can be very intense in the beginning and then start to ebb. But then it can come again in waves of pain and sadness. Anniversaries, or certain dates or seasons can bring back memories or feelings.
People deal with and process grief in different ways. There is no one correct way. Some like to keep busier, others like to create rituals, while others prefer a lot of time alone to mourn. The one thing that is important is to not stuff away your feelings or try to drink or drug them away because this does not work! Our feelings will still remain.
Losing a loved one is a difficult life transition for all of us. Sometimes, however, in dealing with death there are more complicating factors for processing grief. Some of these can be: death of family member who you were estranged from or had unresolved issues with, sudden or "shock" death--as in a car accident, heart attack, SIDS, an "out of time" death as in the death of a child or a person who dies much younger than life expectancy. These types of deaths can sometimes have more complex grief with people struggling with anger, questioning their religious or spiritual beliefs, dealing with guilt, remorse or regret, and/or feeling a sense of meaninglessness.
If you’re grieving, I understand and am here to help. I can help in counseling sessions by listening to your story of loss, accepting your feelings, and moods and working with you to help to rebuild your life. You don't have to go through this alone. Contact me today for a first appointment.
Five Stages to Rebuild A Shattered Life*
- Impact: shock, denial, anxiety, fear, and panic.
- Chaos: confusion, disbelief, actions out of control, irrational thoughts and feelings, feeling despair, feeling helpless, desperate searching, lose track of time, difficulty sleeping and eating, obsessive focus on the loved one and their possessions, agony from imagining their physical harm, shattered beliefs.
- Adapting: bringing order back into daily life while you continue to grieve: take care of basic needs (personal grooming, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills), learn to live without the loved one, accept help, focus on helping children cope, connect with other grieving families for mutual support, take control of grieving so that grief does not control you, slowly accept the new reality.
- Equilibrium: attaining stability and routines: reestablish a life that works all right, enjoy pleasant activities with family members and good times with friends, do productive work, choose a positive new direction in life while honoring the past, learn how to handle people who ask questions about what you’ve been through.
- Transformation: rethinking your purpose in life and the basis for your identity; looking for meaning in tragic, senseless loss; allowing yourself to have both painful and positive feelings about your loss and become able to choose which feelings you focus on; allowing yourself to discover that your struggle has led you to develop a stronger, better version of yourself than you expected could exist; learning how to talk with others about your heroic healing journey without exposing them to your pain; becoming supportive of others trying to deal with their losses.
*Joanne Jozefowski in 1999 through The Phoenix Phenomenon: Rising from the Ashes of Grief summarizes five stages to rebuild a shattered life.
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
Helpful Links Grief Counseling
- Open to Hope - Open to Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find hope after loss. They provide encouraging articles, books, and an online community to help people deal with difficult losses and continue to live happy, meaningful lives while working through grief.
- The Sweeney Alliance - The Sweeney Alliance is a non-profit organization that was founded by Peggy Sweeney to help families and professionals cope with grief and stress. The alliance offers a wide array of programs catering to both children and adults, as well as online resources and a regular newsletter.
- Scholastic children’s grief resources - Schalastic Children’s Grief Resources is an integral page for helping children who are experiencing grief and the various implications associated with the passing of a loved one. The content on the site illustrates how teachers can help, as well as advice on informing students.