I’m stuck in the jungle of grief. How do I get out?

In my work I have noticed that most people who come to me for help after the death of a loved one struggle to make sense of what has happened. This is referred to as making meaning. This may sound strange but making sense of what has happened in any life event is actually about finding what that event means for you.

If you find yourself in that situation, you will notice how hard it is to move on into the rest of your life.

So many people struggle with the issue and arrive in my counselling room exhausted from trying to manage life and fed up with being stuck in the same place in their lives.

When you see me, you find an objective listener who can see things you might have missed.

Learning there is a way out of the tangle of grief is a great source of relief.

John in the jungle

John likened the space he was in after his wife’s death as being trapped in an impenetrable jungle without a machete to hack his way through.

He was so caught up in how to get out of the jungle, that he was unaware of feelings he had not addressed.

Once he was able to explore those feelings with me, he realised there was an underlying question. That question was overwhelming all his efforts to remember the happy times with his wife.

John came to realise that he had struggled to make sense of how this strong, capable woman had succumbed to cancer.

Once he was aware of this question, he was able to explore it.

In that massive question were so many feelings he had never explored.

He was angry at the cancer that took her life.

He was confused at how quickly it had taken over their lives and turned them upside down.

He was full of remorse at the times in the past he had felt he had not given his wife enough attention. At the missed opportunities to connect. He always imagined they could do things together in retirement. But that never happened.

He felt responsible for her cancer not being picked up earlier. He knew that they had acted on the signs they saw, but he still felt he should have noticed.

He was mourning the loss of the future they had anticipated.

He had lost trust in the certainty of life.

He didn’t know how he would keep living, alone.

These are just some of the feelings he had not experienced until he came to see me.

Once he was able to experience and work through these feelings, he found there was a way out of the jungle.

He could see a path emerging from the tangle of vines that had formerly blocked his way out.

Then one day he was able to walk down the path and emerge into the sunlight.

Jacky and the big question about death.

When Jacky lost her daughter, she struggled with accepting that this teen who had barely lived could be consigned to the nothingness of death.

Her friends would tell her to not think about it, but she needed to know what happened after death. A lot of people never think about that. It is a very confronting thing for many people. It is easy, when faced with such an uncomfortable subject, to move away from it. Hence Jacky’s friends not wanting to discuss it.

I was prepared to let her explore that question.

Jacky spent a lot of time at home reading and exploring attitudes and beliefs around death.

She came and discussed these ideas that she had formed. It is always helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off. It is also helpful to talk with someone who encourages you to reflect on those ideas.

Jacky found comfort in reading about near death experiences and decided her daughter’s spirit went somewhere into another existence after death.

Finding meaning

Two different people. two different stories. Yet both were struggling to find meaning in the death of their loved one.

It is said by those who research grieving that finding meaning in that person’s death is the most overlooked part of grieving.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with finding meaning in the death of a loved one, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *