What is Bereavement Counseling?
Grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one. In a time of bereavement, one slowly adjusts to loss and learns to accept the reality of death. But bereavement can be an intense emotional roller coaster ride of emotions, physical ailments, and withdrawal from social interaction. It is important for those “walking the mourner’s path” to know these painful reactions are a normal part of the healing process.
At times the bereavement journey becomes stressful: body, emotions, mind and spirit are deeply affected by the strain of loss. Comfort from family and friends is necessary during this vulnerable time. Often, bereavement rituals provide valuable solace and comfort.
Nonetheless, people still have difficulty resolving the pain of mourning. Life is stressful, demands in this age are many, and it can be difficult to resolve issues with death, dying and loss, particularly with regard to one’s parents, and with any type of conflicted or traumatic death.
Bereavement counseling offers a nurturing environment for clarifying turbulent, unfamiliar emotions, for resolving personal and family issues in the face of death, and for healing grief. As a psychotherapist I work to help others turn longing into legacy and mourning into a meaningful sense of the mystery of life and death.
Through my professional affiliation with Mt. Airy Counseling Center, I offer counseling services to individuals, couples and families, designed to provide support, guidance and a compassionate understanding of the grief process. I also do group bereavement consultations in education, health care, industry and religious settings.
THREE WAYS TO MOURN:
Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel once said: There are three ways to mourn – to weep, to be silent and to sing.
THE FIRST WAY TO MOURN IS TO WEEP: Even if our tears are for ourselves, for our ache of loneliness, for our pain of loss, they are still sacred, for they are the tears of love. But we may weep only if we do not weep too long, only if the spark of our own spirit is not quenched by a grief too drawn out, only if we do not indulge ourselves in the luxury of grief until it deprives of courage and even the wish for recovery.
THE SECOND WAY TO MOURN IS TO BE SILENT: to behold the mystery of love, to recall a shared moment, to remember a word or a glance, or simply at some unexpected moment, to miss someone very much and wish that he or she could be here. The twinge lasts but a moment, and passes in perfect silence.
THE THIRD WAY TO MOURN IS TO SING: to sing a hymn to life, a life that still abounds in sights and sounds and vivid colors; to sing the song our beloved no longer has the chance to sing. We sing the songs of our beloved; we aspire to their qualities of spirit; and we trust in our heart that there is a God who hears the bittersweet melody of our song.