What I Learned in My First Grief Counseling

Grief. It’s kind of like Space – at this point it seems infinite and like the final frontier. It’ massive. And I need help navigating…because I am not Han Solo and this is not the Millennium Falcon. This is life. My life and I am dealing with death of my parents.

My Father was in the care of Hospice when he passed and there are a lot of benefits for not only a patient, but the family. One of those is 13 months of bereavement counseling. Today was my first session, because I need it. And maybe this might help someone else too. So here is what I learned today:

  • You have to grieve and you have to face it head on in order to do so. Those who don’t and who run away from it often become bitter and angry. I won’t let that be me. I would rather do this head on, no matter how hard or crippling, than become a bitter shell of a human being.
  • Let yourself grieve however you need to every. Day. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to yell, yell. If you need to do whaever to get out those emotions, do it.
  • Respect your grief. Let it out, work through it, handle it.
  • Feeling guilt, shame and like there are still things left to say are normal. I went through a list of things I want to say to my Mom, and what I feel very guily for when it comes to me Dad. She assurred me that I am not alone and I do not need to beat myself up for these things. I did the best I could, I served my time and honored and took care of my parents well. They know this. I need to know it too. If you do not come to terms with whatever shame and guilt you are feeling, and accpet that you did the best you could, then it will make you bitter, angry and depressed.
  • It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be very painful. There is no way around this part, you just have to accept it.
  • This time is precious and sacred. Hold this time as precious and know that this is your time.
  • Lean on your support system. She told me that I am a strong person, but that there is nothing wrong with others taking care of me right now. That others need to take care of me right now, as that is part of healing. I learned that it is part of the process and we need others to take care of use while grieving in order to heal properly.  Those that do not allow others to take care of them during this time, are often bitter and grieve a lot longer than they have to. I never knew that. I thought I was being weak to lean on others too much. She said no, not at all. So let your friend take care of you.
  • Find an outliet – whether it is exercise, crying, writing, or whatever…find a way to channel the grief and stress of this time. I run and exercise. I hike and am out in nature.It helps sooth me.  However, with the weather this cold…
  • Eventually, replace the sad feelings with happy memories.  She told me that after a while, I will be able to think of certain times and memories that will make me laugh, smile and feel good.  It will come eventually and even then I will have good and bad days.  But that at some point, those memories will being me more comfort than sadness. And that is what we are working toward.

There is more but that is all for now. Hope this might also help those others as well

Finding the Sunshine

Since last May, life has been full of doom and gloom. Knowing, seeing that Mom was declining and her eventual; passing.  Dad moving in.  The harsh reality that you pretty much have to give up your own life to take care of an elderly parent – through no fault of theirs. It is just the situation, and you take it on, because you love them more than words can say. Seeing Dad decline and pass. And then the demise of the relationship.

But that is just life…and you deal with it. The universe doesn’t play favorites.

But in between the grief and the heartache there has to be some…fun.  Somewhere, out there, before all the tragedy, I had a life.  And I had a lot of fun.  I think part of getting through grief is reconnecting with the life you had before.  While life will never be the same, it can’t be all sadness and doom.  There must be smiles, and laughter and shared good times.

Somewhere out there, there has to be a fun class to take, or a fun date to have, or a fun experience to enjoy, a fun day, a fun something.  I want to go on a fun trip somewhere warm and wonderful.

I have put in my time, I have done my duties and done them well.  Now, it is time to enjoy this life.  I am exhausted from sadness. I want to see the sun, feel it on my skin, feel the fresh air on my fingertips and just shed this skin of the last year.