As a child I used to wonder why we had the expression ‘Good grief’, thinking how can the death of a loved one be a good thing?
I was reminded by my mother that at age 4 there was the death of my aunt, when told she had died my reply was ‘Who shot her?’, clearly I got this idea from the old western movies my father used to watch. My experience continued, at age 15 with the death of someone I was close to. Then the worst experience was when my sister died of cancer and my father in the same year, my age at the time 18. My own journey of grief has been varied and painful.
As a counsellor I have experienced dealing with bereaved relatives in a Hospice in Sheffield. Making use of ‘Kubler Ross’(1969) 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Stages are not a pattern but stages can interchange and may be visited several times, with no specific time scale.
To loose a loved one is a tragic and painful experience. Whilst eventually coming to acceptance we never ‘get over the loss’. In the hospice my clients would mainly be people who had been with their wife/husband for several years 40 – 60 years. Having lived a life as a couple the remaining person has to rediscover who they are.
As one client stated ‘all I want is my husband back’, clearly something which is not possible. However counselling can help with the grieving process, it can enable clients to talk about the pain they’re suffering and work through issues of dealing with them on order enable moving forward. Although family are an integral part of the process it is not always easy to share those very personal and painful feelings and emotions, especially when the individual knows they to are grieving.
There are other forms of loss that the five stages previously mentioned may be relevant to and again counselling is one way in which to seek help in dealing with.
I conclude grief is good. To not grieve and experience the pain, we are not able to accept and continue living.