By: Aubrey Garner, Crosswinds Therapist
Grief is a stomach-turning, despair-filling, and unpredictable thing. Even therapists cannot pinpoint what grief will look like from one person to another. This may be a scary thought; however, it is also truly freeing. There are no parameters on how you need to feel or when. If you are not over the death of your mother, then you are normal. Losing a mother leaves people feeling insecure as if the foundation for life is no longer existent. Not only is the ground upon which to “do life” gone, but the role mothers also fill is also gone. Mothers tend to wear many hats and fulfill multiple roles for their children. They provide companionship, comfort, unconditional acceptance, praise, warmth, and direction. This is so much to lose! People could only hope that losing one’s mother would be done in a smooth fashion, from something predictable and timely, as if such circumstances and ease exist. Sadly this is usually not realistic; even predictable and timely death is still pain-laden. No wonder why one would be left still grieving heavily for long periods of time.
However, relief CAN take place. For those grieving and for those who have loved ones in the grips of grief, it is important to remember that grief often comes in waves, that people will be triggered and that times of sorrow will return. However, just like waves come, they also pass. Therefore, take gentle care in their presence and ride them out.
For the hard times try these two things:
- Explore and celebrate the missing loved one’s traits and memories.
- Explore what legacy the person left (what changes/implications the person’s life had/has on your own).
Remaining gentle with oneself, even in the midst of others who may have grown impatient, is critical. Have grace for yourself, and remain patient while riding out each wave of grief. Grief Counseling can help to ease the pain of grief, especially when the manner of death is traumatic for loved ones. Having someone to grieve alongside you can absolutely ease some of the difficulty.