"We are waiting for the village to appear so we can fully acknowledge our sorrows.” - Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow
Loss can feel excruciating and disorienting. And it is also the ultimate shared human experience, because none of us can avoid loss in our lifetime. Whether it results from the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, a change in our identity, facing climate change or disillusionment with our world, or confronting our personal traumas, loss is universal. So why do we often feel pressured to manage our losses alone and within a prescribed timeline?
Grief is one of the most multidimensional human experiences offered to us in our lifetime. It cracks us open like a geode to reveal the deepest aspects of our individual, communal, and cultural selves.
Grief expert and therapist Francis Weller (2015) said that we as humans are not designed to grieve alone. We need a village to be witnessed and held. Therapy can serve in this way to provide a safe and sturdy space for you to be companioned in your grief.
As your therapist, I walk side-by-side with you as we navigate the terrain of grief and loss. I help you track where you are and where you may be going, and I offer survival skills so that you can build resilience to continue along this necessary journey. Together we explore your unique story of grief at a transformative pace. We give it value and respect. This alone can begin to ease the intensity of your pain and despair.
Some clients have been holding unresolved grief for some time. This is grief that is begging to be heard and seen. Once it is witnessed in its complexity, you may find that your suffering begins to recede with time.
Francis Weller (2015) called grief a gateway to other emotions, like joy, delight, and serenity. Although it may be hard to think of your pain going away right now, grief has the capacity to expand our emotional selves to eventually reclaim a sense of living fully and with depth, even in the aftermath of devastating losses.
During my clinical training at Camarillo Hospice, I encountered clients experiencing a variety of losses, including:
death of a parent
death of a partner or spouse
death of a child
death of a sibling
death of other significant people in one's life, like an aunt, best friend, or former lover
death of a person who clients had a conflicted relationship with
death of a loved one to suicide
We often encounter deep grief associated with other realms of life experiences, including:
involuntary childlessness or infertility
loss of a job
loss of a home
losses associated with childhood trauma (make this a link to a blog on this)