Are you struggling with wishing things were different, better or more?
Perhaps you are experiencing grief as a result of a trauma, a loss or a change?
Dealing with substantial loss, such as death, loss of certainty, loss of safety, or loss of trust can be the most difficult times in a person’s life. Feelings of loss are very personal and only you know what is significant for you.
People commonly associate losses with strong feelings of grief when a death occurs, when there is a serious illness, or when there is a relationship breakup. Grief also occurs when losses are less obvious, but just as significant, such as experiencing abuse, loss of a physical ability, illness, a move, a career change, loss in financial security, graduation, leaving home, loss of a pet, or letting go of a dream.
Grief is the most intense pain there is; naturally we want to avoid or escape it. However, one of the absolute truths about grief is that if we run or hide from it, we never truly recover; all of our time and energy is used for coping instead of healing. In order to heal, there really is no way around it, over it or under it. Healing requires us to move through it; to embrace its agony and allow the waves to wash over us as they come.
In working through my own losses as well as working with my clients, what I’ve learned from grief is that it is extremely difficult, it is a continued process, and it forever changes who you once were. A loss exposes everything that matters to you; your values, your beliefs, your strengths and your blind spots.
Grief is a natural part of the healing process; it deserves our utmost respect. Our primary goal is to no longer suffer, we honour the person or the loss as we fold them into our new life story.
Hedtke, L. (2014). Creating stories of hope: A narrative approach to illness, death and grief. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35(1), 4-19.
Hedtke, L., & Winslade, J. (2016). Remembering lives: Conversations with the dying and the bereaved. Routledge.
James, J. W., & Cherry, F. (1988). The grief recovery handbook: A step-by-step program for moving beyond loss (No. 152.4 J3). New York: Harper & Row.