People who are grieving come to see me for many different reasons. Some just need someone to share their confusion with. Others have decisions to make and need someone objective to bounce ideas off. Some are angry. Others confused. Then there is despair. And there is often fear. There can also be reluctance. Not everyone who comes to see me is ready to move forward into the future. Some people are so tired from the journey they just want me to wave a magic wand and fix things. But I can’t do that. But what I can do is accompany you on your journey for a little way from time to time.
There are a number of metaphors around grief and what is happening for the person who comes to see me that I use.
One of the most powerful is the metaphor of the shattered vase. In the aftermath of the death of a loved one, your world can feel as though it has shattered. Everything that was part of your life is changed. Your trust in the world has changed. Nothing is the same anymore. You are left with shattered pieces of your life that need to be picked up and put back together again.
That can feel like an impossible task. If can feel like a task you don’t want to do. But there will be a time when you will venture to do it. Sometimes being supported by a counsellor through that process is the way you get through it.
When someone comes to see me, I do not rush them through their grief. I do not believe that is helpful. So if you come expecting to be given quick fix solutions, I am the wrong person to see.
Another powerful metaphor is that of the space between what was and what will be. I have spoken of this space before in my blogs. We often visit it at turning points in our lives. It is the space that is bewildering and confusing. Nothing seems the same. What once was certain is now confusing and unclear. The path we thought we were following is not there anymore. The space is trackless. There is no map, no guide book. The space is not comfortable or familiar. It is a wilderness. We stumble in that space until we learn the way out.
When I see someone who is grieving, I see someone caught up in that space. I don’t have the map for the way out. Each person’s map is unique and only that person has ability to find the way out. But I do have the ability to sit with you as you journey through that space. I may even be able to help you find your way. Sometimes it is helpful to just be with someone, even for an hour.
When I feel you are ready, I can share ideas with you. You can reject them or go further with them. But that is a long way down the track.
One thing I will tell you. I will tell you to be kind to yourself. To not expect to have it all together. To allow yourself time to cry, get angry, despair, be overcome with feelings of disorientation. To give yourself the space you need to grieve.