The death of a parent can affect people in many different ways. The people I meet with often question if their grief is normal and if there are other things they could or should be doing to help them to cope with their loss.
Some of the common challenges people speak to me about include…
Often people talk about the idea that there are stages of grief people go through (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and are concerned when this doesn’t fit for them. The idea that there are stages of grief hasn’t been supported by research - human beings are much more complex than this.
It’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions including:
You may not experience all of these emotions and they won’t come in any particular order.
I provide a place for you to check if what you’re feeling is normal and to find ways to manage or address your feelings if that’s what you need to do.
Physical and Mental Impacts of Grief
If you’re having difficulty sleeping, feel tired all the time, find it hard to focus on conversations and feel like your brain is in a fog then you are not alone. These are some of the most common physical and mental impacts of grief.
Most of the time these will improve by themselves. However, there are strategies that can help. For example, I teach people techniques to help them to get to sleep or stay asleep and work with them to improve their sleep hygiene.
Meaning, Purpose and Beliefs
Many people say that they feel a lack of meaning and purpose after the death of a parent. They are left asking ‘big’ questions about why we are here and what the point of life is. Many people talk about feeling fearful about the future and worrying more about their own mortality.
People are often left with questions about what happens after we die. When you’re missing someone you care about you may want to know that they are somewhere safe. But, often we can be uncertain about what we believe.
I offer a place for people to talk about these ‘bigger’ questions, to discuss their fears and hopes, and to try to figure out a way to go on living in ways that feel meaningful.
Have you had someone say something hurtful or unhelpful? Have you felt let down by people you thought would be there for you? Everyone I meet with has examples of ‘dumb’ things people have said or friends who have disappeared or just don’t ‘get it’.
Within families people often grieve differently. And, the absence of one family member changes the way everyone else communicates and relates to each other. This can lead to family members feeling distant from each other or even result in conflict.
I meet with individuals and families to support them to find ways to manage the changes in their relationships. And, to identify ways to communicate and support each other and to adjust to their new reality.
Often when people talk about grief they focus on emotions. I expect you’ve also found that there are lots of practical tasks that need to be done. These may include deciding what to do with someone’s belongings, contacting organisations to cancel or change services into your name, deciding what to do with ashes and navigating financial and legal issues around wills and probate.
Completing all of these tasks can be exhausting and bring up a lot of emotion. I work with people to prioritise and manage these practical challenges.
Not all relationships run smoothly. If you’ve had challenges in a relationship with a parent because of conflict, issues with alcohol, gambling or other addictions, or family violence then your experience of grief may feel complicated and confusing. You may miss some things, regret others and be relieved that certain parts of your relationship are over.
I support people to unravel this complex web of emotions, to address difficult feelings and to find ways to cope with their grief.
Do you have questions or concerns about your grief?
Please feel welcome to contact me on 0448 245 979 to discuss your circumstances to help you decide if counselling is the right option for you.
Appointments are available in Crows Nest at 81 Alexander St. Or, online via Zoom.
Suite 2, 81 Alexander Street, Crows Nest New South Wales 2065, Australia