BEREAVEMENT, LOSS AND GRIEF
The process of Life in itself seems full of losses.
Birth, going away to school, illness, separation and death,
Experiences of loss may include loss of work, loss of pride, loss of love, loss of esteem, loss of security and for some loss of our community or homeland.
Loss and bereavement are a part of the human experience and seems to be woven into the fabric of our existence.
There doesn’t seem to be any rule or logic, people may die suddenly or leave without warning. We may become ill and become dependent on others.
People lose faith or cut each other off for various reasons.
In my experience there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong process for mourning.
If we are faced with the often unbearable experienced pain of loss, it may be tempting to deny it or we may feel angry, depressed, hurt, guilty or regretful.
Any of this may occur and in any given order.
As a counsellor meeting with a client who has experienced a bereavement, loss or grief I would want to provide a space where they will be heard with affirmation, support and compassion.
It is important that clients have this space to be with their loss and that if they enter therapy that they are sensitively met with great respect by their counsellor as they find a way of being with their loss or mourning.
People have different responses when they lose someone.
“A close friend died six weeks ago after long struggle with their health. Now, I can’t get an image of him when he looked so frail and weak out of my mind. I can’t remember him as he was when he was well. I feel guilty I should have done more…”
“After many years of marriage I lost my partner and I don’t seem to be able to cope. I still keep expecting to see him. I sometimes feel he is here but then realise that he has died…..”
“My partner was recently killed in an accident and I am left on my own to bring up the children. I feel so distraught and lonely. I feel angry with my partner for leaving us but know that he wouldn’t want us to struggle.…”
As a counsellor and therapist these responses seem understandable and normal to me.
But for the person experiencing their loss it can obviously be a very distressing time during which for example they may feel scared, lonely, abandoned, angry, guilty or confused by a sense of relief which they experience at the end of the suffering of a loved one. They may feel numb, panicky, very weepy or unable to cry at all. Some people experience difficulty with getting enough sleep, others may have physical symptoms such as heart palpitations and feelings of acute anxiety.
Coming to terms with a death can be a gradual process. People generally find that in time they are able to get on with their lives and think a little less about the person they have lost. Most people begin to feel like this within one or two years of the death of someone close to them. It may be difficult to accept the death of a loved one but possible to move on with life. It is important not to feel guilty if you are beginning to build a life for yourself following a death.
But do talk to people about how you feel. Don’t bottle things up.
You are welcome here if you feel that you have no one whom you can talk to, Counselling can help.
Stephen Derrick - Bereavement Counselling Hull