One word. Relationship. Specifically ours. Yours and mine. Healing happens when you are seen, heard, and felt by another human being. It is hard to be a human. Of all the challenges in our lives, which ones will push us to seek help? Feeling lonely and isolated because there is a global pandemic? Anxiety about what the future holds? Eating our feelings? How about difficulty with our significant other because we have seen them, and only them, for months (with no end in sight!). Perhaps we consider difficulties we were working through before. Maybe grief? Perhaps you've lost a loved one before, during, or because of the pandemic? Perhaps you've lost something else? Grief is a response to loss. We can grieve a life we never got to live, or a future forever changed by the unique circumstances present in our world today. We can grieve our youth, our shifting identities as we age, or the child we never got to have.
Grief is also a response to death, the most universal of life experiences and one we are often afraid to talk about. We use euphemistic language in an effort to . . . what exactly? Does imagining her in “a better place” take the pain away? What do we say when children ask if they can visit this place, or when the deceased will return home? And then the casseroles and phone calls taper off. Always too soon. Then people stop asking, as though their questions will bring her to mind and cause you to suffer. Don’t they know you think of her every day? Grief doesn’t ever really go away; it changes over time. Just when you think you are coping better with the loss, the holidays arrive, or the one-year anniversary hits, and there you are, overwhelmed by difficult emotions once again. No matter where your grief lies, I would be honored to sit alongside you on this difficult, and often lonely, journey.
About Melissa: Melissa runs a private practice in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to that she spent a number of years working in Community Mental Health. Melissa holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from Brandman University (part of the Chapman University System).