For most people the loss of a loved one is the most devastating loss.
Grief is the intense emotional suffering we feel when somebody we love is taken away.
Most people associate grief with losing the loved one through death. But we also suffer and feel the intense emotional pain when we lose a loved one through divorce or breakup.
Sadness is the most predominant feeling. At times it even feels like sadness will never let up.
You experience the intense sorrow because you do not lose only the person. You also lose the affection, the support and the sympathy given to you by the person who was taken away. You lose the companionship.
You may even feel like you've lost hope. Seen this way, grief is the price we pay for love.
Other times you may feel shocked, angry, guilty or remorseful.
You may feel shocked, angry, guilty or remorseful as your own soul needs to come to terms with your own destiny.
Sometimes you may feel helpless, hopeless or numb.
You may feel helpless, hopeless, or numb because it feels like you've lost a part of yourselves. A very important part. And now, it is your destiny to live without that part. The best you can.
Feeling these emotions can be painful at times. At times you may even question your own values and life priorities. At other times you may questions yourselves, your future.
Everyone grieves differently. Feeling the emotions associated with grief is one's own journey. Everyone grieves in their own way.
Children may appear less upset at the time of the loss, or preoccupied with unimportant issues. Although at times they may ask very pertinent questions:
Other equally important questions may appear later:
Adults try to make some meaning. If possible, a new meaning for themselves, a new meaning for their own life. A new meaning while the memory of the lost person may continue to feel at peace.
Grieving cannot be rushed. Grieving has its own time.
The relatives of a person suffering from a life-threatening illness may start to grieve long before the person is taken away (also known as anticipatory grief). And continue to grieve after the person is taken away. Family and friends may feel relieved at the time of the loss. The grieving person may continue to grieve.
By reflecting on this we learn that one does not "get over" the death of a loved one. Instead, one heals and lives with it.
Family and friends may want the grieving person to recover from the loss as quickly as possible. But grieving has its own time.
Although there is not such a thing like the right way to grieve, in some instances people may experience "complicated grief".
Complicated grief may appear when one:
In a very busy society, where social isolation could easily creep in unobserved, complicated grief may be a more common experience with serious consequences for those experiencing it.
The consequences of complicated grief could be:
Unfortunately, complicated grief may be experienced by the family members and friends of patients with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or heart diseases.
First, I began to help children deal with their losses. Some lost their grandparents, other lost their siblings or even parents.
Working with those children further helped me develop a kind, sympathetic and supportive counselling style. With respect to the legacy of Milton H. Erickson I helped them using therapeutic stories, and some stories got sent home to their parents as well.
Then I worked with the parents who wanted to heal their own grief. They wanted to make new meanings in their lives. And so the journey started.
In addition to Ericksonian therapy I use interventions from Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) or even Process - Experiential Emotion Focused Therapy (PEEFT), pacing my interventions with the client's specific needs.