Bereavement can be an intensely distressing experience for a variety of reasons and one that is sadly very commonplace. Sooner or later many of us will suffer the death of someone, whether a person or even a pet, we have loved. Talking about the subject of death is generally perceived as a taboo subject and of course different cultures handle bereavement in many different ways. The sense of loss of a loved one often produces a wide range of different emotions that literally shift on an hourly and daily basis. This can also bring back memories of other losses, almost like ripples in a lake, coming back to us from previous times.
Often in private sessions clients who see me with this issue will ask “Is this normal?” Of course “normality” is a very subjective term and in my opinion it’s important that the client discovers for themselves a state of well being that feels appropriate for them. Taking the appropriate time that they feel is right for them. Grieving can occur after any sense of loss and this sense of loss can vary greatly between each person as we all have different ways of thinking and feeling. Many clients discover that they struggle to find a balance between their happy and sad thoughts about whom they have lost and this is part of a natural grieving process that occurs during bereavement.
Some people find that a funeral or memorial service provides a sense of closure, while others find that they still have ongoing thoughts about the person who has passed away. When we are faced with the issue of mortality, this can stir up all manner of emotions and cause us to question life in a totally new way. Logically we all know that nothing lasts forever and none of us will live forever, but emotions are of course not found within the realm of logic.
Different emotions that arise from bereavement can include a sense of guilt, agitation and anger as well as sadness or grief, or even relief. It’s useful to know that there are no “appropriate” emotions, just what we each personally experience. Many clients find it useful to ensure that they continue to maintain many of their standards patterns and habits as this contributes to a natural and useful sense of grieving. There is a common belief that “time heals all things” but this is in my opinion actually an over simplification. Healing occurs as we begin to shift our focus of attention in a manner that “feels right” to create what is for us an appropriate sense of order within our lives and enable us to sustain a recovered sense of well being.