Getting Through the Storm
Our outreach efforts for 2018 began with a partnership with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Our counselors each wrote a short piece on topics to coordinate with weekly sermons on: betrayal, grief, illness, guilt and shame and anxiety. After receiving feedback from several people who found these articles helpful, we thought we’d give them a home on our website where they can be accessed, anytime.
by Janet Crow, MA, LPC
Grief is something everyone experiences at some point. Having tools to grieve and mourn allows us to focus on the experience of the loss, find new courage and hope to survive the pain, and move forward in time. Loss thrusts upon us disappointments we did not choose, but also opportunities we did not imagine. Loss challenges our basis assumption about ourselves and our future while at the same time loss forces us to re-structure our lives. It is important to realize losses can be more than death of a loved one and include: loss of people you love, pets, physical objects, and changes in aspects of one’s self or identity. Many in Houston had to grieve the tremendous losses caused by Hurricane Harvey. When we avoid grief instead of allowing ourselves to mourn and heal, it can lead to later struggles such as anxiety, depression, trust issues and substance abuse. The point of addressing grief is not to forget the loss but to be able to move forward with openness to a “new” life with meaning, joy and purpose.
- A normal emotional suffering and reaction we feel after a loss.
- A highly personal response to life losses. Every relationship we have with a person is unique, irreplaceable and unrepeatable which means our grief is unique, too.
- Like a jigsaw puzzle. If our life falls apart, we try to put the pieces back together, but they don’t fit anymore. Grief can cause our values, priorities, and outlook to change.
- A natural part of life that requires adjustment to a new reality.
- Like a broken heart. Who can mend it?
- Like a wound. Grief is a cut, a slash on our body. At first there is no feeling. We are numb. Then gradually we begin to feel the hurt to feel the pain.
- A transition. It’s a long, slow, time consuming, painful healing process, a journey toward human wholeness.
- Grief is internal thoughts and feelings and must be mourned to heal and move forward.
- Acknowledging the reality of the loss
- Embracing the pain of the loss
- Remembering the person who died or loss
- Developing a self-identity
- Searching for meaning
- Receiving ongoing support from others