Saturday, September 25, 2021

Grief

Grief

Losing someone we love might be the greatest of all life’s challenges. When my 16 year old son took his life in 2004 I didn’t know how I would survive. Therapists are often told not to disclose too much personal information— rightly so, as it can take the focus off of our clients— but this is something I think is important to talk about. You see, it was therapy that helped not only me, but my husband and all of my other children find our way through the worst time we could imagine— and it was what inspired me to become a therapist myself.

One thing about grief is that if you haven’t experienced it, it’s almost impossible to understand. It is like a dark re-birth; anything you thought you knew turns upside down. You are forced to piece together a new life out of the meager scraps of the old, and to feel emotions that are enormously powerful and painful, confusing and constant. Whether you lose your partner, your child, your friend, or your parent, death challenges us to survive and dares us to be consumed by sadness.

There is little in the way of support for grieving people. It seems like no one knows what to say, what to do, or how to help. We are afraid to talk about death, afraid to overwhelm others with our feelings, afraid to share our painful experiences. We lock these feelings away and try to act “as if”; as if everything is fine, as if we are in control, as if we can magically handle things. After all, life goes on. Right?

It does, but the quality of one’s life after a loss can be deeply impacted by how that loss is processed. Therapy with someone who gets it is the one thing that I know really helps. It gives us the space to feel all the ugly stuff. We don't have to apologize for being a mess or being unreasonable or even screaming like a complete lunatic. (That’s why therapists have good sound proofing in their rooms!)

If handled well, grief can soften. I’ll never get over the loss of my son, but my sadness over his passing doesn’t threaten to destroy me any more. Good therapy is what made the difference for me, and it can help you too.

Sound Mind Counseling offers specialized grief therapy for those suffering in the aftermath of death. You don’t have to do this tough work alone.

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