Are you struggling to heal and move forward after losing a loved one? Do you often find yourself crying, feeling numb or sleeping too much or not enough? Do you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, irritability or guilt? Maybe you lost someone you care for suddenly though a suicide or an accident and can’t make sense of the untimely loss. Or perhaps your loved one was very ill and although you knew death was coming, still feel shocked and stricken with grief. Are you now questioning the purpose of life and the meaning of death? Do you vacillate between accepting your loss and slipping into feelings of denial? Do you wish you could find a way to accept and honor the loss of your loved one, process your grief and find meaning and joy in life again?
Losing someone you love can be an isolating, wearisome and profoundly sad experience. You may feel numb and detached from the world around you. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed with intense, uncontrollable emotions. You may even feel numb one moment and highly emotional the next. You may be struggling to stay present and focus on daily. And, your relationships with others might be suffering, especially if you feel very alone in your grief. It’s not uncommon to play over and over again in the mind what was said or wasn’t said to a loved one before he or she passed. And, these heavy thoughts and a lonely heart may have you turning to drugs, alcohol, food or other vices to numb out or cope with pain. Regardless of if you lost someone suddenly or knew death was near, losing someone you love is never easy. Grief can impact all aspects of your life. It can even cause you to question the point of life itself.
While death is a natural consequence of being human, and the only thing certain in life is that it will end, losing a loved one rarely comes without pain. While everyone experiences grief in his or her own way, very few of us are able to navigate losing someone we love without feelings of guilt, anger or sadness. We all grieve it in our own time, and for some of us, the grieving process can take a long time. It can be challenging to process difficult feelings and come to a place of acceptance. And, society often compounds the grieving process. We’re sometimes told that we should grieve in a specific way and within a certain period of time. But, these societal beliefs rarely translate over into our heavy hearts.
You can and will heal in your own time. But, you don’t have to do it alone. If you feel isolated in your grief, are struggling to connect with others and you can’t make it through a day without tears, grief counseling can help. A compassionate, understanding and experienced therapist can help you process difficult emotions, better understand your grief experience and provide you with support as you navigate this challenging experience.
In grief counseling, you will learn that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. What you’re experiencing is completely normal, and your thoughts and feelings – no matter how guilty, angry or heavy they might be – are okay. Grief is a very normal and healthy human process. Like everything else, your grief, too, will end. And, grief counseling can help you move through the process with more ease, support and self-compassion.
In grief counseling sessions, your Suffolk Family Therapy grief counselor will create a safe, nonjudgmental and gentle environment for you to begin processing your loss. In sessions, you will have the space and time to express and explore any and all thoughts and feelings you may be holding on to, especially those unresolved ones that you never had the chance to share with your late loved one. While it may seem too challenging to communicate painful emotions right now, often the sharing of feelings is followed by a calming sense of relief. Your therapist can also support you in exploring and articulating feelings you might have about the bigger questions of life, especially if your loved one’s death was sudden, traumatic or senseless. Together, you can address the anger, confusion and guilt that your significant loss may have created. With support, you can work through these big emotions, come to understand and accept your experience, honor the person you lost and move forward with a little more ease.
In sessions, your therapist can also support you as develop a new sense of self. You can focus on strengthening key aspects of yourself as well as your connections with others. You can begin to feel into who you are now without your loved one in your life. Your therapist can teach you techniques, such as mindfulness, so you can begin to feel more present and increase self-awareness. You can also learn healthy, effective ways to cope with stress, sadness, anxiety and pain. Throughout this process, you can embrace who you are now and recognize that it’s okay to let go.
With support and guidance, you can adjust to life without the physical presence of your loved one. It is possible to feel happy and present again and find meaning in life. You are not alone in your grief, especially if you embrace support and strengthen your relationships with others. Your pain will subside with time, and with help you can heal and enjoy your life again.
You just lost someone you love. It is okay to ask for support as your navigate your pain. Grief counseling offers you a safe, gentle place to explore, express and simply be with your feelings. It’s a place where you can let go and give yourself permission to express what you truly feel and need. And, in taking care of yourself, you become more able to support those around you.
The length of time you spend in grief counseling is really up to you. The grief experience is different for everyone. It depends on what you need and want out of therapy. You may just need a few session to help you cope. You may decide that you’d like to engage in ongoing therapy to explore the bigger issues related to your loss and to the meaning of life. Ultimately, this experience is yours. You decide how much support and guidance you need.
When in grief, it’s not uncommon to try to block out feelings. However, in order to accept, process and honor your loss, you need feel your feelings – even, and maybe especially, the hard ones. In grief counseling, you will not be alone. Your therapist is there to support and guide you, and you set the pace of the sessions. It’s up to you when and how much you share. If talking about your loss is too difficult at first, you and your therapist can explore other issues in your life or discuss healthy ways to cope with painful feelings. This is your experience. It’s up to you to determine what kind of support you need.
You do not have to navigate grief on your own. We invite you to call our office at 631-503-1539. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about grief counseling and our practice.