Grief is a natural and normal response to loss and can evoke powerful emotions, such as sorrow, guilt, pain, regret, anguish and emptiness, amongst others. Any or all of these emotions may engulf us, shroud our thinking and lead many to despair, overwhelmed by the difficult and grueling work of dealing with their loss.
Others may believe that it is impossible to recover from the pain of their loss, bury intense emotions, and just ‘get on with it’. Neither way is helpful in the long term; not to the individual, their family or their community.
To allow hope to kindle in our heart, is to begin to loosen the grip of grief on our lives. Many, after the loss of a loved one, speak of being exhausted, weary from the heaviness and heartache that has been their companion for so long. Wanting to leave behind the debilitating effects of loss and have a glimmer of hope, does not, in any way, diminish the depth of your grief or how profound your loss. It is about being willing to reevaluate and open yourself to the possibility of change and acceptance.
At The Grief Centre of Western Australia we believe that with understanding and support, recovery is possible.
The tools, which plant the seeds of recovery, hope and acceptance, are available through the educational programs and services offered by the Grief Centre of WA – when you are ready.
Grief is a very personal and also a very individual experience. There is not a quick fix, but I believe, a journey that at some time you have to work through.
People will do this in many different ways, and unfortunately no one thing will work for everyone.
The group was set up to try to make sense of the massive questions of why bad and sad and also unfair things happen. By talking, and just as importantly listening, I personally found the group helps you to understand and find the tools to make going through grief a possibility, and indeed reality.
To hear people’s stories helps you understand also that you are not alone in your thoughts and sadness, but the sensible and practical ways that have helped others can also help you. I personally feel that while there is no one simple answer to how to stop the pain of loss, to talk to people who are dealing and progressing through grief is incredibly positive and can only help.
You might go to a meeting only once or as many times as you feel it is useful, again it is totally up to you. The group is a very uplifting forum and will give you a greater understanding of a subject which will touch us all.
I was 7. My life was bright and colourful. Then on the 3rd Oct, my beautiful 21-year-old brother died after a four day illness. My life lost its colour. My other brother and I were sent away for a few days and when we returned all traces of Nick had been removed and we were forbidden to mention his name. My mother was inconsolable and while she mourned for him physically and mentally until she died at age 94, she never spoke of him to me again.
All aspects of my life from that point on were touched by the blackness of grief – school, sport, marriage, children, relationships, aspirations, thoughts, life. I wanted to cry but no tears came. I wanted to live, but every day was consumed by the fear that something might happen to me or mine.
By chance I enrolled in a course Christine was facilitating at Tuart College and she offered to show the class the Grief Centre. I walked into that room and without a word even being spoken I was overcome with emotion. After much inner turmoil I decided to attend my first group on grief.
Many weeks later and with the support of my wonderful friends at the Grief Centre, colour is coming back into my life. I have forgiven myself for Nick’s death. For 57 years my mantra was “I wish I had died in Nick’s stead.”
I now talk about Nick, I remember fun times with Nick and most importantly the Grief Centre has allowed me to, for the first time in my life, grieve openly amongst others there who have become my friends, who understand and accept me without judgement or expectation. I realize now, while I am deeply sad that Nick is not here, I am and I want to live life more fully.
My life has changed. I dare to be happy, I take more risks, I am kinder to myself and I have a more honest relationship with my family.
I still have a way to go, but thankfully I am not on my own.