Losing your partner

The person you love so much is gone. The will has been found and is with the solicitors. The death certificate has been attended. The funeral has been arranged and is over. The host of people rushing around to support you have gone back to their homes and their lives. Your children have also gone back to their lives. Even the well-meaning people telling you you’ll get over it are gone.

Now there is just you. In an empty home. The person you love is not there. You may be blessed enough to have pets to help fill the emptiness. But they can’t replace the one you loved.

The people who have been through similar experiences, the professionals you see, all will tell you it takes time. And it does. But the time in between losing the one you love and being able to cope with each day is a lot of time.

You may cling to the familiar, or leave the home you shared.

You may seek out help or you may struggle through on your own.

There is no right or wrong. Each person grieves differently. Even if several people are grieving one person, they will all experience that grief differently. Grief is as individual as the relationship you had with that person.

People often get concerned by the comments of well-meaning people:

• You should be better by now

• It takes 2 years

• You aren’t going through the stages (and in their book you should)

• You should be out and about mixing with people

The comments go on. Few of them helpful.

Here is the truth:

• There is no right or wrong in grief

• Yes, it is possible to get stuck in the grief journey and yes if that happens you do need to see a counsellor

• You will grieve differently to other people

• There are no “stages” to grief

• Grief doesn’t just turn off, like a switch. It is a lifelong experience.

• You will find that people don’t want to hear about your pain, so you will learn to bottle it up.

It is hardest to grieve for someone when the people around you didn’t know that person. You have no one to share the memories of that person with. That is hard.

One thing that is helpful is if you can find good friends who are prepared to support and listen to you. If you can’t find good friends to support you, you may find it helpful to see a counsellor who is experienced in grief. I often see people who just need help getting through that initial period. They find it helpful to understand what is happening and to be able to talk openly about what is happening and start to make sense of it. Other people come to see me after more time has elapsed.

If you are wondering whether your grief has gone on too long, it is generally considered that if you have been bereaved for 6-12 months and are not making steady (but gradual) progress towards feeling more able to live your life and making sense of what is happening then you may be experiencing prolonged grief and would benefit from seeing a counsellor.

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

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