A 50-something woman told me she had been grieving for two years since her ex-husband died. She just couldn’t get over it. Even though they were divorced, they had remained friends. He had been her childhood sweetheart.
Her two grown daughters had grown weary of her grief. When my client cried or reminisced or expressed anger about his dying, the girls angrily barked, “Get over it, mom.” No matter how much she tried, she just could not “get over it.”
I gave my client full permission to be angry and to express her anger in our session, which she did. I gave her permission to feel sad and express her grief, which she did. She cried without holding back.
After a few minutes when the crying had naturally subsided, I guided her in an imaginary conversation with her deceased ex-husband. She poured out all her pent up emotions to him, and she heard loving responses coming from him.
By the end of one hour, her spirits totally lifted. Her eyes grew bright, she was smiling, and she had no more grief. I checked with her a month later, and she still had no grief. That’s what can happen when you give people sacred space to feel what they feel without judgment.
Here’s a suggestion for you:
Next time a friend or a family member feels sad, consider how you can be fully present with them and helped them feel their emotions. Ask if they want you to hold them while they cry. Maybe they will; maybe they won’t. Love them in purity and don’t mix any sexual innuendos. Don’t manipulate them to stop crying because you think they should be done. You will find that if you let a person cry until all the tears are expressed, they will resolve the grief much quicker. It might not all be finished in one day, and they may need to process the grief several times. They will heal more quickly than if they keep the emotions locked up inside. Be a caring non-judgmental witness and companion in their grief.
Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor. Click here to learn more about how to heal grief or to schedule an appointment.
Copyright 2012. The Esposito Institute, Inc.