Part of my mission as a Grief Recovery Specialist and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist is to dispel lies we’ve been taught about grief:
My mission is to promote the understanding of grief as the normal and natural response to losses of many kinds, expressed in ways unique to each person and loss, and to promote the idea that moving beyond grief and loss is both desirable and possible for those who grieve.
This mission means hope for people suffering grief and bereavement.
We are Told to Move On, But Not How
We are told how to feel and how not to feel.
Our society has adopted the idea that it is wrong or unhealthy to “feel bad.” It encourages us to “be happy” as soon as possible, even after significant loss has occurred in our lives. We are also told that “time heals,” or, “it just takes time” to recover from a significant loss event. As a result, when feelings of loneliness, fear, sadness or anger linger longer than an arbitrary amount of time after a loss, we are told that there is something wrong with us. We are made to feel we are weak, and so we seek counseling or drugs to help us feel better.
However, it is my belief that it is normal to feel sad, fearful, disoriented, confused or angry when we have experienced a significant loss, or an unexpected change in our lives. It is also my belief that time alone does not heal. It is misguided, even harmful, to judge people based upon how long grief persists. That is why it is my mission to educate people about grief as the normal and natural response to loss. When I specify losses of many kinds, I draw attention to the fact that grief is not from death alone. There are over 40 different life events that we can experience in a lifetime that can produce grief.
We compare ourselves with others.
Grief is not only normal and natural. It is also expressed differently in each person’s life. Each loss is experienced in a way unique to the relationship that changed. Therefore, it is not necessary or helpful to compare losses between people, and even between one relationship and another.
We are told to “move on,” but given little helpful guidance on how.
People sometime extend this idea of uniqueness to infer that the ways to deal with grief are unique as well. So we hear things like “There is no one right way to grieve,” and doom-saying such as “You never get over the death of a child,” and “Your heart is forever broken” and other generalizations. When we don’t challenge such general, intellectual-sounding statements, we tend to look for information to support them.
These statements contradict my personal experience, and that of others who have used the Grief Recovery Method over the past 40 years. We have learned that statements like these are untrue, harmful, and potentially dangerous. It is my mission to challenge the prevailing “wisdom,” beliefs, and teachings that dominate our culture around grief. I offer people hope that their hearts, though sad for their loss, can again enjoy fond memories of people they lost. It is possible to let go of the pain of unmet hopes, dreams and expectations from the past. It is possible, and even desirable, to complete the pain brought about by loss and move beyond loss. It is possible to live more fully in the present when what was painful about the past is completed.
Providing education and assistance
To help bring hope and expectancy to grievers, I provide education and inspiration through
- Teaching the Grief Recovery Method One-on-One program with individuals
- Leading educational groups such as the Grief Recovery Method® Support Groups
- The 4-week Grief Recovery Method® Helping Children Deal with Loss programs for parents and guardians of grieving children
- The 6-week Grief Recovery Method® Pet Loss Support Groups
- Speaking to churches, community groups, and professional organizations, and
- Leading experiential workshops and group meetings
If you or someone you know has a need for this information or needs assistance, please contact me. I offer free phone consultations and will be happy to answer any inquiries through email. And click here to learn more about grief or find a specialist in your area to help you.