One of the things I often hear when I tell people that I do grief work is, “My loss was a long time ago, and I know it’s still affecting me. But is there any point in going to grief counseling now?” My emphatic answer is “YES! It’s never too late to work through the past.” Sure, you can choose to carry it around with you forever, but it’s going to pop back into your psyche more often than you would like, and maybe even cause depression, anxiety, insomnia, or panic attacks. The heaviness of unresolved grief is ultimately inescapable.
Grief comes at the most surprising and awkward moments. You fill out a form that requires your birthdate and all of a sudden realize you’re precisely twice as old as your brother was when his life ended. You’re looking at a conservative gray wool skirt at Nordstrom Rack and think about your aunt who died, and how she always wore skirts just like that. You smell warm chocolate chip cookies and have a flash of your mother in the kitchen. Or you see a kitty that looks just like your cat Ernie, who died a decade ago, and all of a sudden you’re fighting back tears.
Inward and outward forces suppress grief. The people around you tell you to buck up, get on with your life, and stop talking about the loss. They think maybe you’re spending too much time crying, and that you’re on the road to being a wreck for the rest of your life. They have other things to do. It’s too hard for them to listen to you. They so badly want everything to be normal as fast as possible that they force you along your path a lot faster than you wanted to travel.
Or you think that if you pray hard enough, and believe well enough, God will take away the pain. Perhaps you were trained to believe that men shouldn’t cry. Or you truly believe that if you start crying, you will never be able to stop crying. It’s hard to find the support you need – someone who can tolerate your pain and who actually wants to hear about your anger, your guilt, and your sadness.
But here’s the thing – there is no one right way to grieve, and there is no timetable for grief. We humans are infinitely flexible, and our hearts and our brains have great ways of both protecting us from the pain, and opening us up to the pain when we’re ready to work through it.
Sure, it will be hard work at times, but it will be SO worth it. You’ll feel lighter, brighter, and more open to happiness. You’ll find that the different parts of your life just seem to work a little better, and that you’re not slowed down and distracted by your grief, and the memories of what you lost.
If you’re ready to start working through your pain, call or text me today at (310) 625-6083, and we’ll have a free 15-minute consultation to see if there’s a good fit.