• Grief is our emotional response to a loss, trauma or death.

• We can connect you with a qualified bereavement counsellor who can help you overcome grief.

• One of our grief counsellors explains the process of grief counselling by sharing a story of a client who lost her husband.

Looking help with grief? On this page a grief counsellor tells one clients story of loss, and how they used counselling for support. You can also read this page for a general overview of grief counselling.

When a loved one dies, whether unexpectedly or after a long illness, the emotional impact is always severe. This is especially the case if a person dies before old age. Grief represents our emotional response to the loss, as well as the fear of the dramatic life change that will likely result from such loss.

Everyone experiences grief in their own unique way but emotional support for the grieving party is an essential component for overcoming grief. Support comes from family and friends, but can also come from a professional bereavement counsellor who is able to offer non-judgmental understanding, a listening ear, and a practical way forward.

Here is Naheem’s Story.

Naheem's Story

Naheem was very close to her husband. They had been childhood sweethearts and had been best friends all of their lives. When her husband, Nabill, died at 45 of a sudden and unexpected heart attack, Naheem felt like she had been punched in the stomach. She cried and screamed when the doctor told her that they had done everything possible, but he had not survived. How could she go on with her life?

Naheem sat in her home in stunned silence. She had two children to take care of, all by herself now. Jade and Asia were only toddlers and did not really understand what was happening or why their father was not home. They happily watched the television while their mother sat staring into space. Naheem and Nabill’s families were trying to help her as much as they could, but at the end of the day, she was left to herself in her now empty bed. Naheem would wake in the middle of the night, reaching for her beloved husband, only to find his side of the bed empty. She cried herself to sleep every night for a week.

Naheem had to take care of her husband’s estate and all of the legal issues that accompanied the death of a spouse. Unfortunately, she could not just crawl into a hole and forget about life for a while. She had her children to take care of and raise as a single mother now.

Naheem’s sister suggested was a social worker and suggested she might benefit from seeing a bereavement counsellor. Naheem was quick to take up the suggestion as she felt that her friends were sick of hearing about her despair, and yet she really wasn’t ready to stop despairing. She needed to talk about Nabill, she needed to talk about her grief, she needed to cry. Naheem met her grief counsellor, Rebecca, for the first time about three weeks after Naheem’s death and she continued to see her, each week, for about 2 months.

During this time, Naheem’s sleeping patterns calmed down, and she gradually became used to sleeping in her bed alone. While it took her a long time to feel normal in a social situation, she found she was able to find joy in her children and even go out with friends for dinner now and again.

Naheem continued to touch base with Rebecca on an intermittent basis for about 18 months.

After about a year, and with Rebecca’s encouragement, Naheem was finally able to clear Nabill’s clothes from their home. This was symbolically momentous for Naheem as it helped to bring her a sense of closure. Naheem gave away many of Nabil’s things to his brothers or to charities for people who might need them more than she did now. Naheem found that eventually she could look back on her life with Nabill with happiness and wistfulness at what she had lost and what might have been.

Naheem found that seeing a grief counsellor within a few weeks after losing Nabill really assisted her to overcome the initial shock, and adjust herself to a new life without him. Naheem found grief counselling valuable because it gave her an opportunity to reveal her emotions and talk about her loss in an environment separate to her family and friends. In the counselling room, Naheem felt able to talk freely about her fears of a life without Nabill – fears for her children, fears about financial insecurity, fears about loneliness. Rebecca listened with empathy and without judgment. She helped Naheem to make sense of her emotions and gave her practical advice, as well as emotional support, to help her find a way forward.

Finding a bereavement counsellor for grief and loss

If you or someone you love has suffered a recent loss, they may benefit from talking with a professional bereavement counsellor or psychologist to help them work through their feelings of grief.  If you would like more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney.

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