How You And Your Child Can Say Goodbye To A Much Loved Pet

When I was a child, my mother believed it was important for children to have pets because when they died it introduced children to the concept of death.

That is true. But there was no recognition in my mother’s plan of the fact that losing a pet is a grief as devastating as losing a human you love.

So pets died, but it was just like putting packaging from food in the bin. Gone now, what are you upset about?

That was the way that generation dealt with things. This was in the time when it was believed that you had to immediately put the one who had died out of your mind. It was considered unhealthy to grieve.

Death was not talked about, whether pets or humans. The subject was taboo.

To grieve was to be mentally unwell.

Pets Matter

There is a need to acknowledge the death of a pet and to allow yourself the opportunity to grieve for it. It is also important to assist children in the family to grieve for that pet.

If the death of the family pet is the first time a child has encountered death, it is very important this death is handled well. This death and the grief following is a blue print for every death the child will encounter in life.

Preparing Your Children For The Death of a Pet

If the pet dies of old age it is important to acknowledge through the years that the pet is getting older. You can talk about the average life span of your type of pet which sets realistic expectations of how long the pet will live for.

Most pets will die before us, so it is important to acknowledge that and then to acknowledge when they get older.

If your pet is ill it is important to acknowledge that as well and be honest about its chances of surviving this illness. It is okay to not be sure and to be honest about that.

Should Your Child Be Present When the Pet Dies?

This will depend on the age of your child and the way the pet dies. If it is ill and you sit with it as it dies, your child may find it comforting to pat the animal and comfort it.

If your pet is being euthanised your vet may have rules around what age child they are comfortable allowing to be present. It is more confronting to be with a pet that dies this way. If the vet is okay with your child being present, then you need to decide whether you think they have the maturity to cope with this.

Should Your Child See Their Dead Pet?

It can be helpful for a child to see their pet’s body and say goodbye. They may want to hold the pet, touch it or just spend time with it.

What Does “Handling Your Pet Death Well” Look Like?

When a pet dies it is important to involve the entire family in this in an age-appropriate way.

Some people like to have a small ceremony to say goodbye, others may light a candle. Many people put a framed photo of the pet somewhere special. Planting a plant is also special. Some people cremate their pet and scatter the ashes in its favourite place. You may set up a memory box with your pet’s accessories and photos of your pet.

It is important to remember that losing a pet can be traumatic for a child. This is more likely to happen when the child has not encountered death before.

The death of a beloved pet can be confusing and hard to understand. Children are likely to feel sad and may have other feelings such a guilt or even anger.

There are books that you can read with your children to help them with the death of a pet. These books are lovely to read and also offer opportunities to talk about the lost pet.

Books To Read About Pet Death

This is a selection of books that are available. Your local library may have more books.

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr – about a goldfish who loses his friend. For younger children

Missing Jack by Rebecca Elliott – about a young boy saying goodbye to his pet cat. For younger children.

I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm – about a dog that doesn’t wake up one morning.

Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr – this beautiful book was a favourite with my children when they were younger. Mog grows old and tired and dies. Her spirit stays around to check up on her family.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst is about a boy who writes a list of 10 good things about his cat and how that helps him remember and celebrate the positive memories and accept the reality of Barney’s death.

Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant – two books covering the death of a dog and a cat.

Jim’s Dog Muffins by Miriam Cohen – the entire class help Jim cope with the loss of his dog. For school aged children.

Goodbye Mousie by Robie H Harris – the emotions of losing a pet. Great for preschoolers.

Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corrine Demas – the story of a dog who dies of old age. Reassures the reader that in time the pain will ease.

Jasper’s Day by Marjorie Blain Parker – this is helpful if your dog has been euthanised by the vet.

The Forever Dog by Bill Cochran and Dan Andreasen – about the dog that was forever.

The Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend by Stan and Jan Berenstain – about the death of a goldfish. Great to remind children that not all pets are dogs and cats.

Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet by Warren Hanson – this is a story and a journal children can fill out to create their own story about their pet.

What Not To Say

Saying that you can always get another pet is not helpful. It minimises the relationship the other person has with their pet. In time the other person may get another pet, but when they are ready.

Ways To Honour Your Pet

It is important to share stories of your pet’s funny moments.

Be prepared always to offer hugs and be patient with the way your child grieves. If they cry allow them to. Be prepared to listen when they want to talk.

Putting together a book of memories of your pet is also a wonderful way to remember them.

An Example of How To Manage The Death of a Pet

My beautiful dog died two years ago at the age of 18. He had been part of the family since he was 10 weeks old. My children had grown up with him.

As he aged and his health started to fail I kept my now grown-up children informed of his deteriorating health.

When the time came to make the decision to end his suffering I discussed this with all my children and we made the decision together. Then two of my children came with us to the vet and were with him as he died.

In the aftermath we had many times where we talked about him and shared memories of him. His photo, with footprint and lock of fur, sits in the house and we often talk about him. We honour his birthday as well.

So many people I know have done the same when their beloved pet died. If the children are younger it may not be so appropriate to include them in the decision, but if possible you can let them know what is happening.

If the pet becomes ill and the decision is made on the spot to euthanise it, then it won’t be possible to include other family members.

It is important to let them know, preferably in person, and allow them time to react to the news. When they react, honour their feelings.

It is the same principle with the death of a relative. In addition there will often be photos or other memories in the house. Their ashes may also be placed somewhere special in the house. People will also talk about them.

Ways Not To Honour Your Pet

I contrast this to when I was a child and a kitten died while I was at school. When I came home it just wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened to it and it was never talked about again.

Another person I know was told their dog has run away, when it had in fact died. They were distressed looking for the animal and wanting to put up signs about the dog and door knock the local area. They couldn’t understand why their family weren’t interested in looking for the dog. It was a long time before they overheard mention of the dog having died.

Having To Leave Your Pet Behind

A neighbour moving into aged care and having to find a home for her dog reminded me of the difficulties people who are getting older and less capable of caring for themselves have to contend with.

Here is a beloved companion who you can’t take into aged care with you. For many people, their pet has become their constant companion. It gives them a reason to get up in the morning. It is a loving presence that helps you to feel you matter and there is someone there for you.

It is just as difficult if you have to move house and are unable to keep your pet anymore. This is the end of a relationship and you need to grieve for the relationship with the pet and honour it.

You will wonder how your pet is and if it remembers you and misses you. You may also wonder how well it is being cared for.

Those questions are ones you are unlikely to have answered and that is hard. It adds another dimension to the grief you feel at having to leave them behind.

It is important to acknowledge those questions and that sadness. There is always a balance between dwelling on something too much and acknowledging it. The main thing is to admit you have those concerns. Allow yourself to feel sad, then move on with your day. Ultimately you have to trust that your pet has been well cared for.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you or your child with the death or surrender of a pet, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful 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

11 Things You Can Do To Support Someone Who Is Grieving

In your lifetime you are likely to know someone who is grieving.

I am often asked the question: What can I do to support them?

On the flipside, I see many people who tell me of the unhelpful experiences they have had in their grief journey from other people.

Here are 11 things you can do to support someone who is grieving:

1. People React Differently To Grief

No two people grieve the same. Some will cry. A lot.

Others will appear unaffected (believe me they are affected).

Some will keep busy.

Others will be unable to do anything and will feel very confused.

There will be some who are angry or bitter.

And there will be others who appear to be very happy.

You may find the grieving person talks and talks about their experience.

Or they may be silent and say nothing.

The list of responses is enormous.

2. Ask, Don’t Assume.

It is easy to assume the help you provide another person may be the same as the help you may have wanted in the same situation, or that you gave another person you supported. But that may not be so.

Remember, everyone grieves differently. What one person wants is not what another wants.

Things you can ask.

• What can I do to support you?

• Can I cook you a meal?

• Do you need anything from the shops?

• Do you need someone to sit with you?

• Do you need a hug?

These are just some examples of what you can do to support. There are many other things you can do. You need to ask.

And keep asking. Long after the person has died, ask about them. Always preface that with asking if it is okay to ask about them. Most people like to talk about the one they lost. That keeps their memory alive and gives them a chance to talk about them.

When my mother died, I lived on the other side of the world. No one knew my mother. It was really hard because there was no one I could talk to about her. I really appreciated the friends who asked and listened while I talked.

3. Grief Is Universal, We All Grieve At Some Points In Our Life.

If you haven’t already, it is important to remember that you will experience grief one day. Most likely you will experience more than one grief.

If you have experienced grief you will likely be more aware of the unhelpful things that can be said and done. On the flip side, you may have wanted certain types of support that the person you are now supporting doesn’t want.

Always ask.

4. Grief Never Ends

Although the acute time of grieving will pass and the pain will lessen, there will always be pain around the death of a loved one.

Always be sensitive to that when interacting with someone who has experienced grief.

5. Be With The Person Who Is Grieving

When supporting someone who is grieving, often just being there is important. You may physically be there with them, or you are elsewhere offering your support.

If you visit someone, let them talk, say little, be okay with silence.

Sometimes you may visit someone and they don’t want to talk about their loss. It is okay to talk about other things, but let them lead that conversation.

If you can’t visit the person maybe ring them, or send them messages every now and again. Just say you are thinking of them. Ask if you can do anything to help. Offer specific help.

6. No Judgements, No Platitudes, No Pumping For More Information.

One of the worst things that can happen after a loss are the comments people make.

Examples are:

• They’re in a better place

• You can always have another … (child, dog, cat etc.)

• They wouldn’t have wanted you to be this sad

• Never mentioning the person or the loss of them. They existed. Mention them.

• So what happened? This is one that you may be itching to ask after someone has died by suicide, or been killed in an accident.

• Tell your own stories of loss.

That last one is easy to do. I have been mortified to do it myself. The motivation to tell your own story is often a desire to give the message it is okay and to be worried you may be judging the other person. You may also wish to communicate you have been there and understand some of what they are going through.
We all bring our own hang ups to supporting others.

If you have had those comments made to you in the past you are more likely to make them. You learn about grief from your own grief experiences. Often they start in childhood when a grandparent dies. Or more likely, a pet dies. This is where you learn how to work with grief.

Be mindful of any comments you may make. Pause before saying anything to check that what you are saying is helpful.

7. Be A Safe Place – Support, Be There, Listen, Maintain Confidentiality

When someone is grieving they need somewhere safe, someone safe. You can be a safe person by being there to offer support. Just be there. No running commentary, no rush of words, just be quiet. Listen when they want to talk. Don’t offer solutions – they don’t want one.

Most importantly – don’t talk to other people about what they have told you. They need to know they are in a safe place where they can share things that aren’t going to be spread around to other people.

Actively listen. That means you put your phone down, you look at them, if culturally appropriate you occasionally make eye contact.

When they say something respond to that. You may acknowledge what they are thinking. You may agree with something they have said. You may summarise what they have said.

Do this naturally and according to the context of the conversation.

They may say: “He loved watching the sunset with me.” You may respond: “what a lovely memory”.

8. You Can’t Fix Another Person’s Pain

It is so hard to see someone else in pain. A lot of the unhelpful comments come from the compassionate response to seeing someone you care for in pain.

Hard as it is. You can’t fix it. The best you can do is be willing to sit with it.

If you have your own pain that is brought up by another person’s pain then you may need to tell the other person you are sorry for their pain but that you need to leave. You can always explain later when both of you are more receptive.

Remember, if you need help with this then seeing a grief trained counsellor may be helpful.

9. Your Story Is Not Important Here

You may rush to share your own story here. As I mentioned earlier, you may want to share it from the purest motives. But it won’t come across that way.

Just be with the person and save your story for much, much later when it may be more appropriate to share it.

10. Give Permission To Grieve

It may seem unnecessary, but many people feel pressured by other people and their own expectations to not grieve.

Let them know it is okay to grieve.

Many people who are grieving need to be reminded of this.

11. Grief Is Normal

The final point is that grief is normal.

It is normal to feel like you are going mad. That is a common experience.

Forgetfulness, numbness, confusion, being distraught, anger, bitterness, disbelief, headaches, aches and pains, not feeling hungry, not looking after yourself, obsessively doing things, wanting to pace constantly, wanting to be busy and so on.

These are all normal grief reactions.

And there are many more.

The best support you can give is to let them know it is okay to feel that way.

Don’t rush them off to counselling, unless they ask.

These reactions will gradually abate over time. Eventually the person will start living again and will start looking for meaning in their experience.

If you are concerned about someone keep in mind that grief that is considered problematic is not diagnosed until at least 6 months after the loss.

Allow time.

If you think after 6 months the person is struggling to cope then you might ask if maybe they would find counselling helpful.

Of course, sometimes people want to talk to a counsellor in the initial days or weeks of grief. That is fine for them to do. But don’t force someone and pathologise their experience.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how you can help you with a friend’s experience, or talk about your own experience that has been triggered, or refer a friend who is struggling with grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful 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

In the wake of your loved one dying, are you struggling to make sense of and cope with your feelings? Grief Counselling can help.

Without fail, everyone who comes to see me after the loss of a loved one tells me they have had so many different messages about how they should be behaving and how to cope.

I have found that in my own experience.

In the wake of my mother’s death, I tried to talk to my siblings about her and how I was missing her and their response was to tell me I needed to “see someone”. A year later, one of my siblings contacted me by email and told me he missed her. By that time I didn’t miss her any more. I guess I could have suggested he “see someone”. I just didn’t reply. I didn’t feel my response would have been polite. Grief is hard to deal with and can cause friction between all those grieving the loss of a particular person.

I have lost count of the number of people referred to me by their GP in the weeks following the loss. In their referrals they describe the understandable grief as “pathological”. They also suggest the use of anti depressants!

Although grief counselling can be helpful. There is no obligation to see anyone about your grief. If you want to talk to someone who understands grief, will reassure you that you are not going mad and is objective then counselling is great. But you don’t have to.

Acute grief, those early days, weeks, months after a loss is painful. It hurts. Nothing is going to help that. Only time.

Many people who come to see me think there is something wrong with them. They are receiving so many messages from others that they wonder if they have something wrong with them.

Messages you may receive from others about your Grief

Messages such as:

• The funeral is over, you should be over it

• It is wrong to sit at home and not go out, you should be getting on with life

• You should be over the tears by now

• You shouldn’t cry in public, it upsets people

• You need anti depressants

• You should be crying all the time, you obviously are not crying enough

• You shouldn’t want to go back to work now

• You should go back to work now

• You shouldn’t be going out so much, you are not spending enough time grieving (whatever they think it looks like)

• Your unstable emotions have nothing to do with grief, you need to get help

• Your anger, difficulty forming thoughts, difficulty doing things, feeling that your loved one is there, and so on, are problems. You need to get help

• You should be glad their suffering is over/you can have another child/you can find another partner.

There are many more, but these are the most common ones I have encountered.

Everyone’s grief is different. Even if you are grieving for the same person, you will grieve differently.

The way you work through that grief is as individual as you are.

You need to find what helps you. What helped a friend may or may not help you. Try their suggestions if you want to, or decide not to. Either way, you will find your own way of grieving.

When should you see a Grief Counsellor?

• Because you want to.

• You want someone objective to talk to

• You are seeking reassurance you are not going mad

• You want to know what is right for you

• You want a witness to your feelings, one who will not judge or jump in with their own opinion

• You feel you need help

• You feel the way you are coping with grief is not healthy or helpful

• You have been grieving for a long time and you feel you may be stuck and want help to move forward

• You would like to learn some coping skills.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, 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

Caring For A Grieving Friend And Yourself

When someone we know is in pain, our natural reaction is to try to make them feel better. Some of this response is learned behaviour as this is how our society teaches us to respond to another person’s pain. Some of the response is personal discomfort at seeing another person in pain.

The urge to help someone feel better is frequently the response we choose to the pain we see in another person.

Your Grieving Friend Doesn’t Need To “Feel Better”

When a person is grieving, no amount of “feel better” actions will help them feel better. They are in pain and only time will bring them to a point of being able to feel better.

The Pain Of Isolation

It may not be obvious, or something you think about, but the biggest difficulty for those who are grieving is isolation. The pain of grief is very individual and very isolating. You have lost the person you deeply love and the world for you has stopped. But the world for others has not stopped.

They are feeling terrible pain, but others cannot relate to that. Even others who have loved that person as well will feel their pain differently.

This is terribly isolating.

Isolation is very difficult to cope with at the best of times, but when you are grieving it is worse.

Platitude Peril

Sometimes the very platitudes you have learned to say, because others have said them in the past, make the person who is grieving feel more isolated. Feel that people don’t understand what they are going through.

Some of the platitudes are:

• “They are an angel in heaven now.”

• “At least you had x (amount of time) together”.

• “You can always have another one”.

• “It’s time to move on”.

• “Try to keep busy”.

• “They had a good life”.

These types of statements are really unhelpful and send a strong message that there is something wrong with the person and they need to stop grieving.

Quick, Let’s Pretend They Never Existed

Other people will avoid even mentioning the person’s grief. They will act as though the person never existed. That is so incredibly hurtful. It is as if the person who has died never existed. And that hurts.

For the person grieving, they want to remember that the one who has died existed. That they mattered. That their life was worthwhile. It is very hurtful to act as though their loved one didn’t exist. I have had it done to me and it was devastating to encounter that behaviour.

It Is Hard To Face The Reality Of Death

In this life bad things happen. As we all die, it is a certainty that you will encounter death in your lifetime. Death does not always happen to old people who have lived long, fruitful lives.

It happens to young children, to a young person whose life has ended before it had a chance to begin, to a young parent whose children will lose a parent long before it is time for that to happen, to someone in the prime of life.

It can happen in unfair circumstances due to accidents, random events, even the actions of another.

Safety And Security Is Shattered By Grief

When you love someone you feel safe and secure in that relationship. The warmth and security of the relationship has a deep impact on your sense of well being. Your heart sings with the joy you feel in the relationship with that other person. You are full of love and it feels wonderful.

Then suddenly all that safety, security, joy and love is gone. And it hurts.

That pain. The sadness. The devastation. The confusion and disbelief. All that is natural.

Grief Can’t Be Pushed Away, It Must Be Felt

Grief is a pain that has to be experienced. It can’t be pushed away.

This is why you can’t fix another person’s pain.

They have to experience it and process it.

Yes it will hurt. But suppressing those feelings of pain is a major cause of depression.

The pain has to be experienced. It is the only way the pain can be processed. It is the only way to make meaning of the loss.

What Can I Do To Support My Friend?

In supporting someone you know who is grieving, the support they need from you is to feel less isolated.

This involves just being with them. Don’t try to fix anything. Let them know you are there, no matter what. Let them know it is okay for them to feel devastated, or angry, or like crying or any other reaction they may have.

Just be there. Listen to what they have to say. Don’t try to fix anything, just listen. They need a witness to their pain and you can be that.

Don’t force them to talk. If they want to talk, listen. If they want to be quiet, be quiet with them.

Don’t Forget Self Care

In supporting your grieving friend do ensure you take care of yourself. It is hard to be in the presence of such pain. You may need to take a break every so often.

You may find you need to limit your time with them. That is okay. You have to care for yourself first or you will not be able to care for anyone else.

Let your friend know you can spend some time with them and then leave. Let them know when you can next spend time with them.

If you are struggling with the uncertainty of their grief and the feelings that come up for you around death seeing a counsellor can be helpful.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your feelings around death, 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

5 things to do to help work through your grief

Frequently people come to see me because they are concerned they are not “over their grief” fast enough.

There hasn’t been a lot of research around what people believe is the time span of grief. In Britain researchers discovered that 30% of British people believed grief should last 6 months. Most people considered 2 years was as long as grief should be. And 30% of younger people believed it was possible to ‘get over’ grief. Men were three times more likely to believe grief should be brief and was something you could get over.

Research in America found that the majority of those interviewed believed grief should be over in 2 weeks!

If that is the attitude of British and American people, I imagine if Australians were to be surveyed they would come up with similar unrealistic ideas around how long grief lasts.

Unrealistic expectations make grieving harder

The difficulty with such unrealistic ideas is that if you are grieving, people can stop making allowances for your grief and instead express the attitude that you should be over your grief by now. This is very isolating.

When you are grieving, the last thing you need is to be pressured to stop grieving by others.

Grief is universal

It mightn’t seem so, but everyone is going to experience grief at some stage in their lives.

Some people are so expert at shutting down their feelings they can convince themselves, and others, that they are “over it”. But there are often signs that the grief is still there.

Poor health, high stress levels, depression, addictions, unstable emotional reactions, avoidance of memories of their loss and isolating themselves are some of the signs that grief is still there.

One thing that research shows is that allowing yourself to feel those hard feelings is the best way to move through the worst of the painful times.

Grief is …

Grief can be confusing. It can be overwhelming. It can be depressing. It can cause you to be unable to sleep, or to sleep too much. It can cause you to lose appetite or to want to eat too much. It can be cause you to lose your sense of self. It can be so many things you never expected.

One thing about grief is that you will be a different person after your experience with each grief event in your life.

How do you work through your grief?

5 things to do to help work through your grief

  1. Rituals

There are many rituals around death that are really helpful when dealing with loss. Other types of loss don’t tend to have rituals around them so you may have to devise your own. Rituals add meaning to the experience of loss. They help you to focus, acknowledge and process your grief. There are many cultures that have formal mourning periods. These are usually from one to three years.

  1. Talk.

It is really helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Some people find no shortage of family and friends willing to listen and sit with them. For other people it is much harder. This is where a counsellor can help. A grief trained counsellor will be able to offer you a safe space where you can just be with your grief. No judgement. No problem solving. Just the space to express whatever you need to express.

Talking is really helpful to allow you to express what you are feeling, no matter how inane you think it is. Grief impacts every aspect of your life as you adjust everything you do to a life without the person you have lost.

  1. Journal

Journalling is another great way to express what you are feeling. For many people, the act of writing their thoughts down is really helpful. It allows them to put the cacophony of thoughts they are feeling into some sort of order that makes sense.

Often, seeing the words on the page can reveal things you weren’t aware you were feeling.

Writing down your thoughts can be a wonderful way to express to the one you have lost things you wanted to say to them.

Journalling can be a useful adjunct to counselling sessions as a counsellor can help you process things your writing has revealed.

  1. Reflect

Grief shatters your sense of self. This is very challenging when you are trying to move forward and you are feeling a great sense of loss.

Reflecting on what you have said or written can be extremely helpful. Such reflection can reveal the answers to things that have puzzled you. It can help you to understand things that have happened and make sense of your pain.

It can also be helpful for you to identify the many strengths you have. Strengths that you may have forgotten you have due to the trauma of loss.

  1. Release

Cry, scream, shout, throw pillows, walk into the bush and scream into the trees, stand at the edge of the waves and yell your hurts, fears, frustrations, anger and terrible devastation. Howl and moan until you feel there is nothing left.

Tear up what you have written. Burn it, throw it away.

All these and more are ways you can release the emotions you are feeling.

And finally:

Researchers have found that the intense feelings of grief peak at about four to six months after the loss and then gradually decline over a number of years.
When others tell you that “you should be over it by now”, remember that many cultures have formal mourning periods that last years. After a few years the pain may ease and you will become used to it and able to function in life. But it will never end. It will just get easier to live with.

Can I help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, 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

How long does true grief last in the heart?

I get asked this a lot.

There is so much misunderstanding of grief.

Add to that the discomfort many people when in the presence of someone who is grieving and you have people being told a lot of things about how long to grieve. About what is “normal”.

AS LONG AS IT TAKES

The reality is grief lasts as long as it takes.

Don’t allow the discomfort of others to make you feel wrong in the way you are grieving or the length of time it is taking.

It takes as long as it takes.

Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

YOU WILL MAKE PROGRESS

Do know that you will make progress. But it will take a long time. You will have good days and you will have days when you feel no better than on the first day.

That is the experience of many other people too.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

If over an extended period of time (months) you find you are still stuck in the same place you were in when your grief started then you may want to see a counsellor.

HOW TO SUPPORT A FRIEND

If you are supporting someone who is grieving the best approach is to ask the griever what love and support look like at this moment in time. That way you are letting them know you care and want to help. You are also letting them know the help you are prepared to give is what they want and need.

Remember our emotions are what makes us human.

Being sad is a beautiful part of being human.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, 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