10 Things I wish I knew about grief before I had to walk through it.

Grief is something we will all go through on some level in our lifetime, some will experience more grief then others; if we are lucky and love many people in our life and live a long time, which is generally the goal, then the amount we grieve will be great.

But yet what do we get taught about grief/ grieving?

In my work as a grief counselor much of what I am doing is:

One, normalizing grief. And two, clarifying misconceptions about grief.

If we look at our overall education on grief — I’m sorry to say it is highly limited, yet it is in many ways quite inevitable.

Like many uncomfortable feelings we avoid it because it doesn’t feel good, we hope by not thinking about it or looking at it somehow it won’t happen, but it does and when it hits it can be devastating.

Not just sometimes but most of the time, if that is the case why is there no preparation for this part of life?

Things I wish I had known about grief before I had to walk through it.

1: It will take time — longer than you like but you will feel better.

2: Unless someone has also gone through grief they may not know how to support you; let them know what support looks like for you.

3: Don’t try to do it alone, it will only make it last longer.

4: It’s ok to feel awful, numb and like you are living in a different reality — this will change.

5: Don’t worry, you won’t forget them.

6: Reach out to other people who are also grieving, it will help.

7: Remember your person who died, stay connected to them, write to them, talk to them, think about what they would be saying to you in the middle of all this, share their stories.

8: Don’t worry so much about making other people uncomfortable with your grief, you are allowed to feel sad.

9: Take time to look back at the months that pass by and see, even if it is slow, you are starting to feel like yourself again.

10: You will get through this, just keep showing up and life and time will do the rest.

I could list more… But I will stop at ten.

Be gentle with yourself, take small steps, you will get through this.

Therapeutic counsellor, Traumatic loss group facilitator, survivor of suicide loss and silver lining finder. www.settlingstepscounselling.com

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