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  • Writer's pictureVanessa May

Coping with loss and helping others who are grieving

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

I'm currently taking David Kessler's Grief Educator course which I hope will provide me with further strategies to help those who are grieving. (David is an internationally renowned grief expert). Whilst others may want to get away from their grief, my feeling is that, because the loss of my child has been so pervasive in my every day life, I may as well use what I've learnt and personally experienced to help others who are grieving. Doing so brings some purpose and meaning to my life (so it's not completely altruistic!)

Soon after my son died, I took David's course 'Writing through loss and trauma' and this motivated me to tell my story in my book 'Love Untethered'. When I found out that David was holding a Grief Educator course, which would lead to me becoming a Certified Grief Educator, I knew his wisdom and knowledge would be helpful to me both personally and in supporting others.

Integration and Meaning

I'm now half way through the course and this week we've been looking at how we might integrate our loss into our lives now that our loved ones are no longer physically here. Years ago, psychologists encouraged finding 'closure' by severing the relationship with the person who died - they're gone so try not to think about them anymore and definitely stop talking about them. This is now seen as a potentially damaging approach to grief. Instead, it's considered healthier to acknowledge that there’s an ongoing connection, that we don’t leave our loved ones behind but instead bring them with us into the future. By doing this, and finding some meaning in our lives, we are more able to heal a little of the pain.

Me with my book 'Love Untethered'

Finding meaning doesn't negate our loss

'Meaning doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it a cushion.' David Kessler

Let's be clear, finding meaning in life after the loss of someone we loved deeply is never ever worth the cost of losing them. It's more about trying to make the best of your life in such unwanted circumstances. This can, of course, prove an enormous challenge, especially early on in grief and when the loss is traumatic. I write about this in 'Love Untethered'. as well as outlining some possible ways we can continue the bond with our loved ones.

We can keep the person (or people) who died with us always – and for many this can soften the pain. And rather than being perceived as holding on to the past, continuing our bond with them actually makes it easier to move forward because it's without unfair expectation and pressure to 'let go' or 'get over' our loss. It's also just preferable and less painful to believe that, in some way, they're still with us and our love continues.

How I can support you in your grief

Everyone can find their own unique ways of continuing their bond with the person or people they still love deeply but who are no longer physically here. If you’d like some support with this or integrating loss into your life - or with any other aspect of your grief - I'd love to help you.

There are various ways we can do this:

  • Download my free grief guide from the Home page

  • Order my book 'Love Untethered' The list of stockists can be found here

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