I don’t think any of us get trough life without having experienced grief and loss. When you experience the deep heart wrenching loss of a loved one through death, divorce, separation or abandonment you enter into a time of grieving.
Grief and Loss Come In All Shapes And Sizes
I recently enrolled on an online programme created by Liz Gleeson called; Shapes of Grief. Liz also has a Podcast, also called Shapes of Grief. Her work is absolutely amazing and the best part is that most of the people who are talking about the research on grief and loss or the books they have written and the work they do as grief therapists, also talk about their own personal experiences of grief and loss.
There are many things that I could tell about this amazing well researched programme, but I think I will let you go discover Liz’s podcast for yourself – it offers you great insight that may just help you as you journey with your grief and loss.
One of the things I picked up from the Shapes of Grief programme is that up until 30 years ago, there wasn’t much research done on grief; how people grieve and how to support them through grief. Recent research would suggest that everything you think, feel, experience while grieving is a legitimate part of your grieving.
Everything Is A Stage Of Grief
When I say there are no stages of grief, I refer to the 5 stages of grief that Elisabeth Kobler Ross wrote about in her book; Death and Dying. She was working in Hospice Care and observed that people who were dealing with terminal illness tended to go through certain stages. There was no specific order to these stages, but pretty much all the patients she worked with tended to experience times of:
Today’s Research On Grieving
Today, research would suggest that Elisabeth Kobler Ross never intended these stages to be used to help people live through their grief and loss, because as I suggested earlier, everything you experience after the loss of a loved one is a stage of grief for you. Grief is individual and unique to each and everyone of us.
Most Manage Their Grief and Loss Well
Most of us manage through our months and years grieving a loved one without the need for outside professional intervention from a grief therapist or psychotherapist. When I say manage through, I don’t mean that grieving is an easy journey. It is certainly never that. But, while we experience that huge hole in our hearts and roller coaster of emotions and stress after the loss, we can tend to navigate this journey of grief with the support of family and friends.
We Do Need Support Through Loss
Yes, of course we do need help and support from our family and most of all our friends. The most important thing people can do for someone who is grieving is to let them talk. In my experience I find that talking something through, even to myself, helps me get to a place where the issue or experience makes a little more sense. It is the same with death and loss.
Telling The Stories Helps To Manage Grief and Loss
Telling those stories over and over again is what we need to help us reach a place of acceptance, not of the death, but of the journey we have been going through. Dr Robert Neimyer calls this Narrative Therapy and Meaning Making. Through all the talking we do, we get to a place of being able to find some sort of meaning that will allow us to related differently to the loved one that is no longer physically with us. I think this is the place of not getting over a death but learning how to get on with your life with this loss being part of who you are – now.
Our Soul Vibrates Us Through Death
You have heard me talk and write about how we are soul beings on a human journey. I have this amazing belief that helps me cope with the passing of loved ones. Remembering that we are 100% vibrational (soul) energy; I truly believe that at death our vibrations rise to a frequency that the physical body cannot resonate at. The body has to let go of our soul vibration. But our soul vibration doesn’t go too far away. It integrates into the universal energy force.
My Own Thoughts On Grief And Loss
For me, when someone passes, I go through a time of adapting to their new form and this is grief. I cannot physically see them, but I know their energy, the essence of their personality is still with me. I get little reminders that they are around – a little robin comes to me while I’m gardening or out walking. A butterfly lands near by. A song comes on the radio while I’m driving or shopping. Or I just get this voice in my head saying something my loved one would have always said and I know they are close. I still miss them, so much.
You too will your way of coping with grief and loss. Your own way of making sense of it all – your way of finding meaning in loss.
Death Ends A Life, Not A Relationship
Morrie Schwartz, who offered us Tuesday’s With Morrie, said: ‘Death ends a life, not a relationship‘. The life that we knew has gone, but the relationship we had with that person has not. Grief and grieving help us to come to this place of realising that while we don’t have the physical person, we do have the soul and memory connection. We begin to related differently – like for me, the robins, butterflies, etc.
Getting Creative With Grief
What came to me as I worked my way through the Shapes of Grief programme was how important it is that we have the space we need to help us work through our grief and loss. About a year ago, I began to work with stained glass. I attended a workshop with Pauline Quigley in her Studio and I was smitten. Many years ago I gave Creative Retreats offering participants the space to come away and make sense of life through colour, dance, silence, clay and then sharing this. In a way these retreats were helping people to put shape on their life’s journey.
As I approached the end of my Shapes of Grief Programme, it came to me to offer 1 day Creative Retreats on Grief and Loss in my shed.
1 Day Creative Retreats
Some of the Creative Retreat days will be through the medium of colour and some days will be through the medium of stained glass. Both Creative Experiences will be focused on offering you a safe and creative space with 2-3 other participants to allow yourself be creative with your grief and loss.
These 1 day Creative Retreats are not about fixing your grief, or taking your grief away. I wish I could, but I know I can’t do that. What I can do, is offer you a creative and supportive space for you to come with 2 or 3 others and be, talk, cry, laugh, sing, etc .
Interested In Getting Creative With Colour
If you are interested in a day working with colour to help you get creative with your loss please click here.
Interested In Getting Creative With Stained Glass
If you prefer to attend a day working stained glass to help you find a shape that will offer expression to your loss click here.
1:1 Sessions And Days
If you would prefer to have some 1:1 – 60 minute – sessions click here. Creative retreats for family members can also be arranged.
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