Grief – learning to swim

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing, sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” -Viki Harrison

Grief is not easy. It is not easy to come to terms with, to process. It is not easy to manage the expectations of others as to how quickly you should be “getting over it” or how much you should be visibly grieving. The expectations of others complicate something that is already hard.

The main thing about grief is that it is never over. You don’t wake up some day and feel fine. If you loved someone that much, do you want to reach a point where they no longer matter? Most people will say, no. They are afraid of forgetting about the person, of not feeling anything for them.

Losing someone you love will change you forever.

There is the initial overwhelm of grief. Most people understand that, although many think you should be over it quickly. There will be moments when you almost feel normal again and are able to laugh, but they do not last long. Then there is the feeling of disloyalty at feeling happy when someone you love so much has gone.

You are not being disloyal. Grief ebbs and flows like the ocean. There are times when it seems overwhelming and you just want to shut the door and keep the world out. Then there are times when you are able to perform tasks of living as you have always done. Over time, you will find that the calmer times become longer and more frequent and the overwhelming times become shorter and less frequent.

Eventually, you will reach a place where it is possible to move on in life. The pain will still be there, but you will have learned to cope with it, to swim.

Do not expect to reach that place shortly after the funeral. There will be many birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries of their death and other important dates before you will be able to reach the point where you feel able to move forward in your life.

The most important thing you can do as you grieve is to be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the time to feel those emotions. Give yourself permission to have bad days and permission to have good days. Find someone who is willing to listen to you when you need to talk. If you can’t find anyone to listen, or feel overwhelmed, counselling can help.

I counsel many people who have been bereaved. I am passionate about helping people to understand they are normal. About allowing people the opportunity to be heard without judgement. About helping people find the way forward.

I am available for consultations in my rooms and over skype. If you need help call 0409396608 today or email to arrange an appointment.

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