Coping With Grief – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
As many of you will know, I lost my dad to cancer last November. It’s naturally led me to think about grief and the impact of losing someone close to you. I’ve probably written elements of this article in my head dozens of times over the past months.
And because it is probably the most personal article I’ve written, I’ve hesitated to actually publish it until now. I’ve only put this here now because losing a loved one is something we all have to face at some point in our lives and I hope that these words may be of help to others.
The stages of grief
It’s often said that there are different stages of grief, from numbness, denial and isolation, through pain, anger, sadness and acceptance. I’m sure I experienced most of these at different times in a varying order and to different degrees.
Of course there is no requirement to experience all of these elements of grief. Indeed, I remember working with one lady who had lost her partner and was full of fulfilment, happiness and gratitude for the fact they had met and the wonderful times they had shared together.
There are many ways to deal with and experience grief. Here are a few thoughts based on my own experiences:
1. Remember that the end of someone’s life is not their life in the same way a book is not just the last page.
There are many, many chapters, twists and story lines that took place during that person’s life. There were those funny things the person may have done, their little habits and routines and moments of laughter and warmth.
I’ve helped several clients where the shock, manner or final few moments of a loved one’s life have become all consuming. All their thoughts of the person are about those final traumatic moments and they need help to recognise the many wonderful moments that were shared throughout their life.
2. It’s a natural process
It’s perfectly natural to mourn when we lose someone close to us. And it’s fine to do this at your own speed and in your own way.
Personally I’m learning to accept that there will be times and reminders that open up feelings of sadness and loss. I know that it is natural, and I know that just as I will never forget my dad and his many wonderful qualities, and just as in his life, I won’t necessarily think of these things every day and that’s ok.
I’m starting to learn to recognise and understand the things that still trigger some sadness – which are mainly those ‘little’ things like when I have a question I know he would know the answer to (he was good like that!) or a certain song or when I want to talk about the referee’s poor performance when my team loses.
However, if you find your emotions completely overwhelming, or you are unable to move on after months have passed, or if there seems to be no point anymore, then you should consider finding help and support.
3. Banish regrets
It can be common for people to have regrets and feel guilt about things they did or didn’t do which they can’t do anything about. Maybe you could have called more or done more or remember something you said that wish you hadn’t.
I feel quite lucky that I don’t have any guilt or regrets. Certainly there were times (especially as a moody teenager) that I could have been nicer, done more, talked more – but I was doing what I thought was best or right at that time, knowing what I knew then. And so were you.
4. Remember the good times
In the last few days and hours at my father’s hospital bedside, and even in the hours that followed, I made a conscious effort to remember many, many good times we shared. Thoughts flowed through my mind like a walk we took along the coast on holiday, my dad pushing his first grandchild in her pram and the look of pride on his face, when we went to watch rugby matches together, his dancing on my wedding day and many more.
So even while we miss someone we love, and can miss their presence, we can still feel a fullness and happiness about many of the moments that were shared during that person’s life.
I personally believe that when you start to allow yourself to consider the full story of the life you shared, you can experience a fullness or presence that reminds you that, although the person may no longer be with you in body, the best way you can celebrate their life is by living your own.
The shining star of grief
Sometimes as ‘grown-ups’ we can think too much. Whether we think of our grief or sadness, we can over complicate things in our minds.
So here are a few wonderful words my (then) 5 year old daughter wrote a couple of weeks after my dad passed away:
“I am going to Wales on Sunday. I am very proud I’m going to Wales because I will see my nanny but I won’t see my granddad because he died now he is in heaven. He had grey hair and it was short and when I look at the stars at night time and I wave to a star my granddad waves back at me.”
Help with Coping with Grief
If you need help to ease your grief then call me on 01353 886158 and ask to book your free initial consultation.
Hypnotherapist & Coach
Hypnotherapy Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket
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