Time, as the old saying goes, can be a great healer. When we’re bereaved, it becomes a major source of hope that the pain, the emptiness, the loss, will somehow abate, so we can move on, from one stage to another, as if we’re being carried by a train on a long journey. There is a general sense that even if the scenery outside the window is grim and the weather poor, things will all seem a lot better a bit further down the line.
But there are some things that time does not heal so easily. Losing someone close to us can stir up a lot of feelings that feel overwhelming at the time. And it can also expose many other difficult issues in our lives, making everything more difficult to cope with for months and even years after the loss occurred.
Feelings of guilt can linger: ‘I could have done more’. ‘I should have said I was sorry’. ‘I was never there enough of the time’. We can feel bereft, or abandoned. Or we can feel angry, or a sense of relief, and then feel guilty for having felt that way. Or we feel as though the loss we have suffered has taken away the very core of our own being, and nothing – nothing – will make life worth living again. Or we can feel nothing at all. Just numb.
At times like this, many of us are reluctant to share our feelings with friends or relatives, for fear of being judged, or perhaps of shifting a burden onto them. But talking to a trained counsellor is different. They can help you explore how you’re feeling, find ways for you to think about your loss, and to gain an understanding of the difficult feelings that are perhaps being stirred up.
You decide what to talk about. It runs at your pace. And you’re in control of what goes on.
EXTERNAL LINK: Cruse UK is a charitable organisation to help people struggling with bereavement, and has a good set of resources on its site.
Night time view of offertory candles in a church