Saturday, 9 May 2009

Loss and bereavement part2

So perhaps I'm not so bad at endings as I thought. Sure I don't like them; and true I always had problems with them and abandonment issues; but it appears all that counselling and self reflection has brought about a change in me. But on what do I base this turn about? All shall be revealed I hope ....

We started the day looking at the losses we can suffer through life such as birth, weaning, starting school, leaving school, friendships, relationships, clubs, pets, status, age, retirement and ultimately death - the only guarantee in life! We then looked at the feelings around loss: shock, sadness, panic, anger, despair, numbness, guilt or relief.

And so to the first exercise; personal history of loss, and there's where it got emotional. First death I remember, grandad; memories of that, everyones relief because he'd had alzheimers; most recent loss, mikes gran; most difficult death - pass me the tissues!!! I have had 4 miscarriages, 3 before Rachel, and the 3rd (Kendi) was the worst thing I have ever been through. The exercise asked us to write why it was difficult and the feelings of guilt, failure, loss of hopes and dreams all flooded onto the paper. But although I was upset I was ok, it's not like it's not something j don't think about all the time. So to question 12 - of the important people in my life, the most difficult death for me would be: well it's a no brainer, Rachel of course and that thought was horrific. It's something that was always in my mind in her early months but now rarely raises it's head so it was an immense emotion.

We took a break and I sat with my feelings and realised that I have managed to deal with kendis loss, it has taken over 4 years but I have completed the grief process. His loss will forever be a part of my life but it is in it's place. And yes his loss, and that of the others, heightens my valueing of Rachel but that's ok, I can do endings!

Next we looked at theories of mourning. 4 phases:
1- numbness and disbelief immediately afterwards
2- searching and yearning
3- disirganisation and realization
4- ring your new identity

We also looked at the 4 tasks of mourning:
1- accept reality of loss
2- experience pain if grief
3- adjust to the environment as it is now
4- reinvest energy into other aspects of life

And this confirmed that I have passed through the stages and completed the tasks, although of course sometimes they need re-reviewing.

After lunch we examined influencing factors on the mourning process:
1- mode of loss
2- attachment to loss
3- past experiences of loss
4- social factors
5- personality variables
6- belief systems

And that's where it became clear to me. I have changed in 2 ways:
1- I am much more self aware, reflective and able to sit with my feelings; this has happened in the last 2 years or so and allows me to now experience the emotion of loss and accept the processes needed. Before this I couldn't bare being alone or saying goodbye to anyone; now I like myself and know I am never really alone.,. Which takes me to

2- I have a strong faith now. It was always there butnit in the same way as it is now where I know I am loved by God, know I am fulfilling a plan, know that He never will give me anything I can't cope with. I can now deal with loss because I am not alone, through friends, family, church and God I am supported. Don't get me wrong this does not make losses easier but it makes the coping acceptable.

I know I have dumped my thoughts and it doesn't particularly relate to LLM training but perhaps it is useful for someone else apart from me.
Actually, I am exempt from the pastoral care element so won't be blogging on that but at least this brings some knowledge if bereavement care which is essential for LLMs.

Sonow to see Rachel, I haven't seen her today yet so there'll be big hugs I hope.


thesamesky said...

Wow - it is amazing to see how you have changed and worked through your losses and feelings. I still hate the idea of endings and struggle with the fear of loss, so it is good to hear that it is possible to work through these things. :)

UKViewer said...

I dealt with a service casualty from Afghan last year. I was totally unprepared for the depth of grief of the family. It had a profound impact on me, and I am now training towards grief counselling as part of a call to ministry.
It never goes away and each time is individual, support is vital at these times.