Felicia Onwuemele, M.Div, BScN | Registered Psychotherapist(Q)

In the past few months, I have seen a pattern in the clients that I have been privileged to work with. Which is that many are going through a season of grief. Grief is an outstanding period of profound sorrow and sadness accompanied by feelings of loss, emptiness, aloneness, confusion and guilt. 

Web Definition: “Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness”.

Grief is directly proportional to your relationship with the dead. The closer you are, the deeper your depth of pain and sorrow. Grief does not have a definite timeline as each person will grieve in their way and within their timeline. One question I have been asked frequently is this. What will it take to get out of this deep end to the other side? This is a legitimate question! There are stages or a cycle of grief.

Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle These do not take place in any particular order. You may find that you are moving from one to the other at different times. This is normal and should be expected.

  1. Denial- Characterised by avoidance, confusion, elation shock and fear
  2. Anger- Frustration, Irritation and anxiety
  3. Bargaining– Struggling to find meaning, reaching out to others, telling one’s story
  4. Depression- Overwhelmed, helpless, hostility and flight
  5. Acceptance– Exploring options, new plans in place and moving on

Helpful hints in Times of Grief

  • Grief is personal– each person will grieve differently. There is no template to follow in a time of grief as the experience is individualized.
  • Give yourself the grace to pass through the process- in other words, be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Let your body engage in the feelings it needs to grieve healthily.
  • Be present mentally– it is very easy to sink low to the depth of sadness and depression that can be difficult to shake. Be attentive to the present. In grief, the mind will often dwell on the past. Past vacations, birthdays, laughter, celebrations, even disagreements. Be intentional in focusing on the present as you are processing those memories.
  • Grief in community– while in grief, be intentional, reach out to loved ones, close friends and faith community for support and comfort. Do not grieve alone. Accept hands of friendship and support. This is not a time to be closed off or shut others out.
  • Seek help – Call up a counsellor, a psychotherapist or a mental health practitioner. They are trained to help you sort out and make sense of any confusion as well as provide supportive therapy for any psychological distress.

For more information, contact Restoration Room Counselling at 289-210-5994 or email info@restorationroomcounselling.com