Part of the process of living is adjusting to change. One of the biggest changes we can experience is when someone special to us dies. The loss of a loved one can cause intense distress and impact on us enormously, forcing us to question everything we relied upon and everything we held dear. Adjusting to the loss involves a healing process that we recognise as grieving. Grieving is the time we spend adjusting to our loss and adjusting to change.
Each individual grieves in his or her own way, and in his or her own time. Some people are able to move through grief reasonably swiftly, for others the process takes longer and for some there will always be a sense of longing.
If you are in the process of mourning you may be experiencing feelings of anger, a sense of numbness or fear. You may be feeling that life is pointless and has no purpose. You may feel disoriented, dislodged or out of sorts, as if life is somehow not what you thought it should be. Intense feelings of melancholy are also common in people who are grieving. You may even be feeling guilty, as if you could have done something to prevent the loss of your loved one. All of these feelings are a part of the grieving process and are perfectly normal. They are the work of recovery.
It is widely held that there are certain stages to the grieving process. Some people move in and out of grief and fluctuate between coping and falling apart. Others cope by simply getting on with life or pushing the pain away. Eventually we begin to accept the loss and start to process our pain. Soon we begin to adjust to a life without the deceased, we begin to invest fresh energies in living and start to move on. There is no definitive order in which we need to experience these stages and they are different for each individual.
Overcoming grief can be lonely and exhausting and it takes time. Much like a physical injury, the wound requires appropriate conditions in order to heal. Counselling for bereavement involves creating those conditions in which you are able to work through your grieving with the understanding and support of an experienced therapist. Through bereavement counselling you will be able to share your grief and be given the time and help you need to come to terms with how you feel about your loss and move on.
Image © Faris Algosaibi