I think when people are suffering from any loss, they experience feelings of grief, sometimes in a very small way, sometimes very large ways.
Grief can be caused by, you know, having to leave your town and move someplace else, and you have to leave aside all of your friends. For some people, that’s a big grief. It’s kind of like a transition, but grief gets caused sometimes by major transitions. It could also be loss through divorce or separation or loss from death.
Of course, there’s a bereavement process that’s just very normal. We’re going to suffer a lot of losses one way or another in life. And so grieving is normal. It’s a normal process, and it’s something that a person doesn’t even really need a therapist for.
But sometimes grief gets complicated. It can be complicated by major grief, numerous griefs all at once, one right on top of the other. It can be something that we weren’t prepared for, that took us by surprise.
Sometimes also people just don’t know whether what they’re experiencing is normal or not. They just don’t know if what they’re feeling, thinking and experiencing in their body, in their thinking, in their emotions is normal, if other people do it.
Sometimes people want some help in their grieving process because they just don’t have anybody else that can help them sort it out or that can really be there for them.
Let’s just say there’s a death of someone that’s very close to you. Pretty soon other people are back to work. Everybody goes back to their other life, and they’ll think about the person that’s died.
But it’s not the same as for you, because you’ve lived with this person. They were part of your daily life. You kind of wrapped your life around them. You were just so closely tied that you are really impacted every day, just in your daily life.
And so everybody else is so busy going back with their life that they may not understand why it’s taking you so long.
So it helps to have somebody else that you can come and talk to about the stages of grief that you’re going through or the feelings that seem to come and go like waves crashing in on the shore. You think you’re just getting pretty good, and then all of a sudden it comes back again, and maybe no one else can be there for you in it.
And so people come to a counselor frequently at times like that when other people are saying, you know, “Come on. Get over it,” or, “They’re better off now anyway,” or “Aren’t you glad they’re not in pain? What’s wrong with you?”
Somehow or other, it seems like we have a hard time dealing with death in America. I don’t know, maybe that’s true everywhere else. I only know where I live. We don’t have a lot of patience with it.
Sometimes even for their own grief, people just think, “What’s wrong with me? I should done with this. It’s been three months,” or six months or something.
They just don’t honor their own process. They don’t honor their own need just to go ahead and grieve, to not be afraid of grief.
Those feelings, that grief experience, actually, I think, is kind of honoring to the dead person, really, rather than you just going back life and pretending it doesn’t even really matter anymore.
Helen Kubler-Ross was the first person that did a lot of work about the stages of grief. We can think of the stages of grief as being something that we kind of work through, but there are other ways of thinking about grief rather than thinking, “Oh, good. I got through this stage. Now I’m on the next stage,” or something like that.
It could just be more like processes that we go through internally, externally, to come to some sort of resolution. And, again, it’s not so we ever really are supposed to get over someone’s death, someone we were very close to, or the loss of someone in our lives, but we do manage to restructure our lives or learn to live our lives in a way that we don’t have them with us any more.
Not meaning we don’t think about them, miss them, love them. They’ve been a big part of our lives, whoever it is, and so we don’t need to let go of that. But we do need to learn how to have happiness and a fulfilling life without them being here with us.
If you need to talk with someone about your grieving process, give me a call.