Even though grief is a natural response to loss, it takes time to learn how to grieve and continue with life while honouring the relationship that was lost. Grieving is hard. Asking for help from a grief counselor at the right time can tremendously benefit your grief journey. Grief counseling is a safe, intimate, and relational collaboration. It helps the grieving person or family process the overwhelming emotional burden in those first few weeks after the loss. It is ok to lean on someone who can help navigate the ups and downs and give us strategies for coping with our grief.
The first stage of grief is the stage of denial and deep sorrow where we protest the new reality. The loss is sometimes too much to bear, so we refuse to accept it and the emotional pain that it causes. We feel the loss emotionally, physically, spiritually, and it can affect mental health. Life will never be the same and we wonder how we can go on without them. A grief counselor can help us navigate the many decisions that need to be made while allowing you the time you need to sit with your feelings. This starts the process of healing and the road back to a meaningful life without the person we loved.
When we reach stage two, we are in despair! We realize the person is never coming back. We need to let go, yet we cannot think of living without them. Feelings of confusion, being lost, and engulfed in pain can overwhelm us. There are so many questions that need to be answered in the overwhelming depth of our emotional crisis. In this stage, it is so important to acknowledge the relationship that existed and recognize how deep the love and connection were. The deeper the connection, the greater the loss, and the more profound our grief and despair are. Grief counseling can help us adapt to the finality of the loss while finding meaning in the process that has been thrust upon us.
When you reach stage three, the funeral is usually over, and life is starting to return to “normal”. We recognize the need to begin to move on. Reaching this stage takes time and a determined decision to let go and rebuild a life without them. In this stage, most of us try to protect ourselves from the pain we are feeling by bargaining. We say things like, “I will never love that deeply again”, “I will never let anyone in that way again”, or “I will never be that vulnerable again”. This can start a process of isolation and loneliness which stops us from feeling or accepting love from others. You may not want to talk to any family or friends. This can be a great time to seek out grief counseling. A grief counselor can help you sort your feelings, do good self-care, and find meaningful companionship.
A grief counselor can help with the sadness of it all. If you have suffered from a traumatic loss or have never grieved previous losses, then your pain and suffering will intensify. Trained grief counselors can help us identify hidden grief issues that are contributing to the pain we are experiencing. Grief is not static. It should be reshaping, changing, and the pain should lessen over time. If it is not, seek out grief counseling.
Another reason to seek a grief counselor is if your emotions are fearful instead of sad. This is especially true when we have experienced sudden or traumatic death. Most grief is a deep sadness or sense of loss but sometimes our grief can be fearful and cause anxiety. This may indicate a complex grief issue that will not resolve without help from a grief counselor.
In our current culture, we never really learn to grieve losses. A grief counselor can teach you about normal grief and what to expect in the first few years. This can give the mourner a road map of sorts while navigating their grief journey. It is always a good time to have a conversation with a grief counselor.
Grief counseling can also be helpful to those who want to support a grieving friend. Learning to sit with someone who is hurting and be silent support to their pain is the greatest gift you can give someone who has just experienced a loss. Grief counseling is for anyone who wants to learn about grief and how to support someone who is grieving. If you have ever wondered if you should talk to someone, then I encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with a grief counselor. Most have a free first-time consultation call. We would love to talk to you and suggest some wonderful resources that may be beneficial to your grief journey.
Written by Kimberly Talmey