I have the incredibly rich opportunity of working with clients who are going through the transformative process of grief. Drawing from my own personal grief experiences as well as my client’s, I recently changed my title from “Grief Therapist” to “Hope Therapist”. You see, when people are working on processing their grief, they are actually looking for support to help them connect with the HOPE…… the hope of making sense out of the chaos and the confusion they are in after having lost a loved one and the hope of rebuilding their life.
Hope is a huge element in grief groups. Everyone has a different story, is at a different stage of their grief but their emotions of sadness, fear, guilt, pain or loneliness are similar. In this safe environment, people tell their stories and feel the sense of being heard no matter how long ago they experienced their loss and no matter what the circumstances. They state that they are happy not hearing the ”shoulds “ of others who are well intended but who just do not understand. There is comfort in sharing with those who are currently going through grief and who “get it”. In grief group, fellow members of different ages, cultures and beliefs form alliances quite quickly, sharing with each other that desired element of HOPE.
I recently went to a friend’s Birthday party. Besides it being a “Big Birthday” it was extremely emotional and significant for it was the first time in 3 years that he had “celebrated” since her wife’s death. He had 80 friends and family members partying with him. But there were 9 people there who truly knew the significance of this day. They were members of his grief group who journeyed alongside him for those 3 years. They supported and identified with each other, sharing that most needed element… HOPE. They were the people who “got it”. They never got tired of hearing my friend’s story for they too shared their experiences with the compassionate and listening group. I felt such joy seeing the sense of “family” amongst the group as I watched them dance together. I was truly touched. The group knew the real reason for this celebration…their friend had journeyed through that difficult wilderness of grief , incorporated his loss into his new life and has transformed his life into a bright and vibrant future.