Grief can sweep you up and toss you around like you’re in wave, struggling to see which way is up. It can erode away the very foundation that you’ve known, leaving you unsure of your life’s purpose.
You can begin to question everything you know, or thought you knew. You can see someone talking, but have no ability to take in anything they are saying and feel like you are in a dream; everything can feel so surreal. You can wonder whether this is really happening and ask yourself “what if” or “if only”. You may experience intense bouts of anger, demanding to understand why this is happening to you, or feel the intense injustice as you grapple with how unfair this is. You may find yourself closing the world out as you try to cope with it all.
Culturally, we have many customs to help us cope with bereavement (the loss of a loved one). You might bring or receive food, sing, or gather with a small group, or host/attend a public gathering to mark the loss. However, once these events are finished, the bereaved person is often left to make sense of their world on their own.
While grief and loss do relate to losing someone you love, the entirety of grief and loss is embedded in so many more experiences than we generally acknowledge. Consider loss more broadly for a moment. In the abridged words of Dr.David Kuhl, MD, loss is wanting more of what you will never get again, or getting something you did not ask for. Grief is embedded in losing a job, divorce or breakups, long term or terminal illness diagnosis, or taking in the effects that trauma and abuse have had on your life.
At Lavender Counselling, we understand that grief and loss are not short-term experiences. We understand that you may have a lot of support at the beginning and that over time that support is likely to wane. At times you’ll be likely to feel expectation from others for things to be resolved, for you to resume your normal life, for you to be happy again. We know if doesn’t work like that and there is not switch to flip to make it all better. We help you honor your grieving process, in just the way it appears for you. We help you understand that barricading grief and loss deep inside can be exhausting and can erode away at you. We invite you to be present with your grief, even when it doesn’t feel good. While we know that you might be working really hard to hold the grief in, scared that if you let it out it will consume you, we help you to feel safe to come close to the grief and explore it.