Grief and Bereavement Counselling
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
C S Lewis
Grief is an integral part of our human existence and will happen to almost all of us as individuals. Although it's usually associated with a bereavement, in some cases it can be about the loss of something else major in our lives.
No two people will experience grief in the same way: we all have different relationships, and our roles with someone we've loved and lost is different depending on whether we were a spouse, a sibling, a child, or one of a multitude of other relationships. And, of course, whilst some of our loved ones die after a long period of illness and when we've at least had time to prepare ourselves, there are just as many who will lose someone very close suddenly or in tragic circumstances.
What is really apparent is that individuals don’t get over grief, or move on from grief; we instead move through it - usually slowly, but very definitely at our own pace, and our entire world is usually altered by our loss.
And even though we may have family and friends around us and supporting us, we may feel entirely alone in our grief, as John O'Donohue says in the reading below, no one knows what has been taken from us as individuals.
How can I help?
In my role as a minister, I often say to families in funeral ceremonies that they’re not only grieving the loss of the person, but having to steel themselves at the same time as they start to define who they become without that person physically in their day to day lives and that can be one of the most difficult things we have to do. For some, especially the very elderly who have been in exceptionally long-term relationships, attempting to redefine the role they’ve had all their lives just seems like an impossible thing to do.
As a grief and bereavement counsellor, it's my role to help you find ways to mourn your loss and give you a safe place to express your grief. Often, when our emotions are particularly strong and powerful, they can be confusing, and it’s my role to help you find a way to express your grief even when you feel overwhelmed with emotion. If you feel like you need a chat with someone who's not involved with you in other ways, please think about counselling and contact me.
When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.
Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And, when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
You're not alone
There are no stereotypes in how we grieve, gender or otherwise. Some people react in ways which we don't often expect, sometimes even seeming to the outside world as though they're carrying on as normal. Often, however, they're putting on a very brave face for those around them and need a bit of extra help to deal with what has happened.
And whilst there are some well recognised stages of grief that many people go through, not everyone will go through these stages in equal measure. There are many facets which make up our personalities and relationships and sometimes we can become stuck in a particular stage of grief. The emotions we have to work our way through during a bereavement can take an interminable time as we deal with our loss and, depending on the relationship we had, sometimes feelings of guilt and regret can begin to dominate our every waking moment.