The 8 Faces of Grief

The-8-Faces-of-Grief

There is no one-way to grieve. If you think back to a time when you have grieved the loss of a loved one, you might notice that you reacted very differently to another family member or friend. In this article Colleen wrote for PsychCentral, she talks about the 8 faces of grief, and how they may appear in your own life. Whether you have experienced abbreviated grief from a need to ‘move on’, a chronic grief that causes you ongoing pain, or a delayed grief, each experience is valid and needs to be acknowledged. You can read the article here.

Are you grieving a loss? Do you know someone who is grieving a loss and you don’t know how to help them? Talking to a Counselling Professional about your experience in a safe and nurturing space may be the support you need to navigate your grief experience. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or press book now to book on the online diary.

4 Tips to Help You with Your Grief and Loss

Grief-and-Loss

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grief is unique to the individual. We all grieve differently and for this reason there is no set pattern to follow. It is my belief that grief and pain remain with us; however we can learn to live with these feelings successfully, doing so without diminishing the value of the causation of grief. We often think of grief and loss as referring to the death of a loved one, however grief also relates to aspects of our lives such as a broken relationship, loss of employment, relocation and the loss of a pet to name a few. Grief is a unique process, but there are steps that can be taken to help you journey through your grief in the healthiest way possible.

1. Be kind to yourself

Often in grief, we take the responsibility or blame ourselves for the loss. Whether there is any truth in this or not, when we work through our grief we need to be gentle on ourselves as we are more likely to remain unable to work through our emotions if we beat ourselves up. By allowing ourselves to be empathetic to our situation, we allow ourselves to work through this intense pain.

2. Be Honest

It is not unusual in grief to only focus on the positive memories and ignore the painful and negative ones. Having worked in the funeral industry for 9 years, I observed a number of families who chose not to acknowledge the pain and hurt that had been caused as a result of the family relationship, and they would only focus on the happy memories.

The happy memories are certainly significant, but the memory of the loved family member is likely to involve the not so good times as well. By reflecting honestly on the good and the bad memories, we pay tribute to the one we loved and our relationship with them. In order to do this, you may need to give yourself permission to reflect on the challenging times as well as the rewarding.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk about and remember the cause of your loss

Whether your grief is due to the loss of a loved one or another change in circumstance, talking and remembering them is very therapeutic and plays an important role in respecting the memories and paying tribute to the past. In my experience, people will often refuse to talk about and reflect upon the life of a loved one or a past event, often because of the fear of it being so painful. It is only as we allow ourselves to be honest and to meet the challenge of the expected pain that we can learn to live again while paying tribute, respect and value to our loved ones and history.

4. Seek professional support

As mentioned before, there is no perfect process for dealing with grief as each person experiences the emotion in their own unique way. What remains important is to be honest, respectful and to value the past for what it has made you- into the person you are today.

Seeking professional support to help you in your grief and loss will enable you to walk a path of a full range of emotions. You will cry at the pain of loss, and smile at the good memories you have within you. You will learn to live with the pain and more importantly, to treasure the memories and love that you shared.

If you are experiencing grief and loss and need support as you work through these emotions, then here’s what you need to do: contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how Watersedgecounselling can best help you or press book now to book on our online diary.

Transitions: 5 Steps to Help You Leave Home

Moving_forwards_by_captivatedimagesIn this article, Journalist and Guest Blogger Jessica Morris reflects on, and gives valuable advice about the process of leaving home, both from the perspective of the young person and their parent.

Leaving home is a natural step in the process of growing up. Aside from the obvious act of physically leaving your parent’s house, there is a progression prior to this. Getting your driver’s license and then a car stretches the bond a teen has with their parent; they are given a sense of independence. Likewise, when a teen gets a job and their own income, this also alters the parent/child relationship dramatically. And after the child leaves school, there is an innate sense that they are free to do as they choose. After a while, the young adult feels as though they are a boarder in their parent’s house. They may still rely on their parents in times of trouble, but they are now able to facilitate their own life. Therefore, the act of moving away from home routinely follows these steps.

A young adult will be excited to live their own life, but may be unprepared for the realities of true adulthood. As someone who “left the nest” relatively late, 23 years old to be exact, I have had to adjust to becoming totally independent as I moved across the globe. Aside from the normal pressures of moving away from home, I have also had to adjust to a new community, a new residence and a new job. While I am still adjusting to life in Florida, there are five things I have found fundamental during my transition from home. I believe many of these also reflect the changes and challenges other young adults go through. So for all the parents who are concerned for your ‘babies' welfare, take note of these points and young adults, read these and allow yourself to relax. Transition is always difficult, but these five steps might make it a little easier.

1. Stay in contact with home

This may sound simple, but the balancing act of investing in the lives of your friends and family while also developing your new life is a challenge you will constantly juggle. Make time to contact those you are close too. It will be difficult, but fight to keep the relationships that matter. You will inevitably lose contact with some people, this is normal. Don’t allow yourself to become bitter about this; it is a natural part of life.
Parents don't force your relationship; let your child initiate contact. Give them the space they need to start their own life. Begin to develop an adult relationship rather than one purely reliant on your care of them.

2. Develop new relationships
Moving away from your community can be lonely, so make a point to reach out to new people. Housemates, colleagues, sports teams or church groups are excellent ways to meet likeminded people. Step out and purposely develop relationships. This is a new chapter in your life, embrace it.

3. Take time for you
Each person’s experience when moving away will be different. Some will have all the basic skills down pat, but will struggle emotionally. Others may be unable to cook or do their washing, but still be quite content away from home. Give yourself the time to feel these emotions, try to stretch yourself and develop new skills.
Parents, the fact your child may still rely on you for meals, washing and even finances is to be expected, but have boundaries.  Remember as much as this move is about your child's independence, it is also about yours. Teach your child the skills they need, and schedule times to catch up over dinner.

4. Be realistic
The prospect of leaving home can be romantic and full of adventure, but try to stay level headed. Do you have the finances to live away from your parents? Do you need roommates? Consider what you will eat and if you will cook, and don’t assume moving in with your friends means there will be no conflict. Be prepared for the challenges that will come, stretch and ready yourself for them as best you can.
Parents, there will be times your child needs your support whether this be emotionally, physically or financially. Let them know you are available and to what capacity you can give them this, but don’t coddle them. Allow them to make mistakes, let them create their own budget (or lack of). Allow them to ask for help.  At times it may feel like you are watching a car wreck, but this is all a part of the experience your child wants and needs.

 5. Be kind to yourself
You can plan the move from home down to precise details, but you cannot guarantee how things will pan out. There will be nights you feel more emotional, allow yourself to cry. There will be days your body freaks out, you will dramatically add or lose weight and may find yourself displaying symptoms of stress or anxiety. This is okay. You are establishing a new life for yourself; it is going to take some time to adjust. Ride this as best you can and learn new habits to keep yourself healthy.
Parents don’t stress or panic, your child will be fine. Remember you went through this process too.

About Jessica Morris

 Jessica Morris is a 22 year-old free-lance journalist living near Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about pop culture and how this intersects with mental health, faith and social justice; she seeks represent this generation within the media. You can view her work at www.jessicamorris.net.
If you would like to know more about how to navigate your present transition experience or need support as you experience your own transition contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or go to www.watersedgecounselling.com to book an appointment.

 

Transitions – Letting Go

I have been going through a transition that I am almost on the other side of as I write this blog article. For a number of years I have dreamt of having my own ‘stand alone' private practice as a Counsellor and Family Therapist. Today I am finally sitting in my own office in Geelong where I will now conduct Watersedge Counselling from. I am noticing that I still have a little adjusting to do. My new space does not feel entirely my own yet. It is like I need to settle in and establish a relationship  with  it. This is somewhat surprising to me because I anticipated that I would feel at home immediately. I am brought back to the knowledge that my transition is not quite complete yet.

It takes time to ‘let go' of the old in order to embrace the new. I was reminded only recently as I sat with a couple who had transitioned to a new space in their relationship that to complete any transition, no matter how positive that process is, you must leave behind and let go of something that is familiar. To do so implies that there will be a grief process where you need to review what you have ‘let go' of and why that was so, in order to move on.

As I have pondered my  present transition experience, I have thought about some of the things you may need to let go of and the reasons why you must let go to be able to transition well.


Letting go of relationships evokes conflicting emotions

You might feel sadness, pain, anger, guilt, regret or you may feel freedom, relief and pleasure. It is more likely that you will feel a mixture of both positive and negative emotions as you separate from that relationship. 
Sometimes the transition has been initiated by a relationship that has become toxic to either one or both of you. Even when the relationship has been a painful one, you will experience feelings of loss and devastation and wonder whether you did all you could to try and save it. Talking these feelings through to give you clarity will allow you to let go and make a strong transition. 

 

Letting go can be about the need to survive

When you no longer have the physical, emotional and/or mental energy that you need to ‘hold on' to a relationship, pursuit or interest you realise that you have to let go to have some energy to look after your own needs. This can be incredibly painful for everyone involved. Feelings of loss, rejection, failure and guilt can follow you unless you take the time to talk about them and find closure.



Letting go of dreams

Dreams of the way you had hoped things might have been but  never eventuated have to be let go. Those hopes and dreams may have been necessary to survival however there comes a time when you have to let go to transition to a new place. Talking about your feelings, the broken promises, and broken dreams as well as the memories you cherish is important for you to be able to let go and move on.



Letting go can be initiated by circumstances

Circumstances where you have made the decision to relocate for work or family reasons, leaving the people you worked or socialised with, behind. When you are eager to move on or have had to do so quite suddenly, it is understandable that closure of relationships does not always happen. Sometimes you are just simply preoccupied with the business of relocating. Other times there are other emotions that you find too difficult to acknowledge to the people you leave behind. Understanding and acknowledging your experience and where possible, saying goodbye to significant people is important for a good transition.


Ritual is a great way to fully let go and transition strongly. Ritual gives closure to the experience and/or relationship you are letting go of. There is no one way of doing ritual because ritual is a very personal experience that holds unique meaning for the person who participates in it. You can create your own ritual, as long as it holds meaning and provides closure to your experience.

Whatever the nature and purpose of your transition, give attention to what you have let go of and how you acknowledge it. By doing this, you ensure that moving forward will be a smoother transition. If you would like to know more about how to navigate your present transition experience or need support as you experience your own transition contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or go to www.watersedgecounselling.com to book an appointment.

Coping With The Impending Grief And Loss Of Your Parent

The grief that is attached to  watching your parents age can be  confronting and painful. You experience grief as you observe their ever-diminishing capacity to function as they once did.

There is a grief for both you and your parent as you each become increasingly aware of the losses and the inevitability of death. You become more aware of your own mortality and the passing of time. This brings up feelings attached to unresolved issues, the discomfit of your parent become increasingly reliant upon you, perhaps a parents resistance to giving up their independence. It is a difficult and painful life transition that refuses to be ignored .

Here are 5 tips that can help you cope with the experience of impending grief and loss of your parent:

 

1. STAY CONNECTED

Listen to your parents stories. Frequently, as we age , we have a need to talk about past memories. For your parent, this may be their way of forming a cohesive narrative of their life, allowing them to come to terms with that which they had previously been unable to do. Having someone to bare ‘witness' to it can give meaning and closure to their life journey. If you find it difficult to connect with your parent, think about some of their stories and the significant acheivements, interests or themes and ask yourself how you could use that to build a bridge between the two of you. For instance, one friend of mine decided to take a day-trip  to  visit the town where her now invalid father once designed and made trucks. The original trucks were  still on display and so she decided to take her camera and create a photographic record as a special gift to her father.

2. RESPECT THE WAY THAT YOUR PARENT WANTS TO DEAL WITH THEIR IMPENDING DEATH

It is natural that you want to talk with your parent about their death but they may not feel the same way. Your parent will deal with their impending death in a way that is right and most comfortable for them.Be aware that the frustration you may feel about your loved one not wanting to talk about their death is about your need, not theirs.

 3. BE AWARE OF HOW YOU ARE RELATING TO YOUR PARENT

Times of family crisis, marked by a heightened emotionality, inevitably invite us to revert to former childhood patterns of interaction with our parent. What feelings are triggered by the interaction you have with your aged parent? Frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness? Chances are they are familiar feelings that you experienced as a child.How do you deal with them? Recognize that you have the power to change your response to your parent. What would you Iike that relationship to look like? How would you respond to your parent if you responded from an adult position? Do you need to be firm about what you can and can' t do?

4. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Be mindful of your own self care. People frequently hold the false belief that a good son or daughter must be entirely attentive to their diminishing parent's needs. Feelings of guilt can have the effect of being ‘overly responsible' for your parents care and well-being, which in turn can leave you feeling exhausted and resentful. Making time for yourself to do the things that keep you energized and balanced needs to be a personal priority. If you neglect your own needs, you will swiftly become overwhelmed by the physical and emotional demands that caring for your parent requires.

 5. FIND SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

Grief can have the effect of leaving you feeling needy and emotionally vulnerable. If you feel like that, talk to someone you trust who will listen and validate the feelings you experience.Talking allows you to identify what you are feeling and to process the feelings. Be honest about your relationship with your parent- do you have feelings of guilt, anger, bitterness or resentment? Put them out there. Denying our experience becomes a toxin that  ignored, floods our emotive state and hampers the grieving process. Grief is an emotional roller coaster so remember to be kind to yourself and accept that what you feel is okay and part of the experience of acknowledging a significant loss.

For more articles on grief and loss, see ‘8 Faces of Grief'  by Colleen Morris at http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/08/05/8-faces-of-grief/

If you want to grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.