The Nature of Grief

Grief as a Process of Healing

When a person first experiences grief it can feel disheartening and painful. Grief however is our natural process towards healing.  Our minds intuitively begin to process what is unfolding. Despite the pain and hardships that grief presents, it is our unique way of journeying through that allows us to live fully. It is important to note that we all grieve differently. There are no two people that experience grief in the same way. The relationships we have are unique, so when we are deprived of them our grief will be unique as well. Grief is our natural way that encourages us toward autonomy and choices.We are the ones who make the choices that will shape our journey.

Are There Stages of Grief?

Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions is if there are stages to grief; although many theories have been presented none have been fully proven. Often people search for stages to act as a map through uncertain times.  If you can in vision an ocean with a map charting the waters, it can assist to some degree. However, maps cannot tell you what the weather will be, the wind direction or the size of the swells. The uniqueness of each individual is what is key.  Exploring the stages can assist some people and can provide some guidance. What is important is looking at how the stages fit you, not how you fit into the stages.

The Labyrinth

The labyrinth is an ancient symbol depicted in various cultures throughout the world. It consists of a single path that forms at the entrance and twists its way into the heart. Unlike a maze it does not have wrong turns and possible dead ends. Over time the labyrinth has become a recognized symbol of the grieving process.  When one first experiences grief they begin to enter the long corridors of their own personal labyrinth. The foreign path begins to reveal itself as the person ventures deeper and deeper to the core. The journey can take several months or possibly a lifetime.

When Should You Seek Grief Counselling?

  • If you do not have or utilize a support network
  • Maintain denial or disbelief long after the death
  • Constantly avoid things that remind you of your loved one
  • Have strong feelings of depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Intense feelings of hopelessness
  • If you are unable to perform daily tasks
  • You feel numb or disconnected from the world
  • Your life has lost meaning
  • If you are experiencing severe physical ailments

If you have found yourself stuck, lost or confused within your labyrinth of grief please call.  Support is one of the main predictors of bereavement outcomes and it is readily available at Partners Counselling and Education Services.