By Jean-Paul Cortes
I remember the day. The feeling of desperation, numbness and anguish pitting my soul; the words ever lingering in my head "He's dead."
My friend was dead and I did not know how to handle it.
It's been a long time since then, yet grief still creeps up on me, its pain a reminder of life's fragile nature. I keep telling myself there are only so many tomorrows.
I know this much is true: sooner or later, we all experience grief and there's no telling how it will affect us.
It's in this understanding that grief coaching can act as a stepping stone for you to continue your life and experience a sense of renewed purpose.
It's a hard reality that today's society expects us to bear a loss with a stiff upper lip; it's my wish to shed some light and compassionate understanding on how wrong this thinking is. Grief coaching may help you in this process.
Grief is common to human experience; whenever we experience a significant loss we experience grief. Our grief tells us that we're human, that there's a time for life and there's a time for loss, a time to laugh and a time to cry.
I take comfort in the notion that when I'm gone someone will miss me enough to remember who I was and honor me by shedding a tear. This is not to say that the grieving journey is any easier; it never is, but it is however a normal human emotion .
As humans, we function on many different levels, when a significant loss occurs, it involves a response from our physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, social and philosophical dimensions.
Gentle penetration and nourishment is required to allow us to move on, perhaps it's one of the most difficult manifestations of change because we don't know on what levels it will affect us or how intense our response will be.
Grief is experienced very differently from one person to another; some people experience certain emotions, other people experience others.
When someone says "I know how you feel", albeit with the best of intentions, it's just not realistic - how can it be? You are unique. You will respond differently from others and you must grieve in a way that feels right for you. Lynn Caine said "Since every death diminishes us a little, we grieve - not so much for the death as for ourselves".
Bereavement evolves over time, it's an emotional roller coaster that can turn your world upside down. You will experience grief in many different stages that can turn up weeks, months or even years after the loss has occurred.
You may find yourself stuck, unable to cope and understand what is happening and asking yourself why now? It takes time, little steps and victories.
Grief carries a very heavy toll that is extremely draining. You may not consider it "work" but when you are grieving even the most basic tasks can seem insurmountable. Walking in a grieving person's shoes can be the hardest journey ever taken and should not be considered easy tidings.
It's never easy and there's no way around it. It takes a lot of courage to realize that as much as it hurts you must go through it and learn how to move on. Havelock Ellis once said "Pain and Death are part of life. To reject them is to reject life itself"; the way out of grief is through it.
Most of us don't understand what is normal in grief; we are expected to "be strong" and "get over it" quickly. We're frequently afraid of facing our own fear of loss and a veil of silence is raised that leaves the grieving person alone and confused.
Grief Coaching allows people to talk about the loss, it gives the support needed in such a difficult time. Grieving people need to talk - a lot. Often grief coaching provides a helping relationship that opens the doors where relief can be found.
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