• alli@pointofchangecounselling.com.au

Point Of Change Counselling

promoting change that heals

face-to-face, Skype or telephone appointments available

Loss Of A Loved One

Loss Of A Loved One

Someone once said that "healing is not a smooth, steady slide towards wholeness. It is more like a lightning bolt, full of ups and downs, leaps and backslides". Because everyone's experience is unique, there is no formula for recovery from the loss of a loved one, whether it is a close friend, partner, child or family member. However, it is during our grief that we will often encounter well-meaning, but unhelpful advice from others. They may talk about blessings in disguise, or feelings of relief, or of someone having gone to a better place, but when we are grieving, it is not about the one who has gone; it is about us - our pain / guilt / regret and how our future is going to be without them. The good news (if we can say there is any good news in grief) is that it's ok for it to be all about you for a season. However, it can be helpful to be aware of the things that are commonly a part of grief.


These may range from helplessness, fear, emptiness, despair, and pessimism to irritability, anger, guilt, and restlessness. Be aware though, that if others around you are grieving the same loss, they may have less tolerance and capacity to accommodate your emotional changes.

Physical Changes:

Grief can trigger changes in appetite and eating habits, sleep patterns or sex drive. People in grief often report that they are constantly fatigued and move, think and speak more slowly. Coordination may decline and making errors may increase.

Other Changes:

Those in grief commonly report that it is harder to concentrate and remember, to hold hope, to get motivated or to summon up energy.

What To Expect:

  • To be in shock. This may last for a while and will often be accompanied by numbness.
  • To feel pain. The positive aspect of this is that it is proof you are alive and still connected to life.
  • To take time to heal. The greater the loss, or if there are multiple losses, the longer the time needed for recovery.
  • Your decision-making ability will be impaired. Allow others to make minor decisions on your behalf and delay making major decisions.

What To Do:

  • Share your feelings. Those in relationships closest to you may be unable to give you the level of support that you need, so talking to a professional counsellor can be a good option.
  • Take one step at a time. Impatience (on our part or others) is really unhelpful at this stage, but we should keep focusing on moving forward.
  • Set some goals. They don't have to be world shaking, but aiming for something reconnects us with life.
  • Look for new sources of support. Often those who have been there for us in the past are not able to handle our grief, so look for grief support groups or, if you have faith, groups which will strengthen you spiritually.
  • Allow yourself to be the expert on how you need to grieve. Others may have plenty of advice and ideas, but only you know where you are up to and what you really need.
  • Don't self-medicate. Substance abuse may give a temporary relief from pain, but will multiply your problems and slow your healing.
  • Take the pressure off yourself and others close to you who are also grieving. We can think that they should instinctively know what we want or need, but they may be thinking the same about us. To the best of your ability, be kind and respectful to yourself and to them.
  • Protect your health. Grief often weakens our immune system, so take good care of yourself.
  • Be prepared to let go eventually.

If you find yourself stuck in your grief or not sure how to respond to it, then seek the support of a counsellor such as those at Point of Change Counselling, who can give you all the time and patience that you need to grieve well.

For help and support with grief and loss, contact Alli at Point Of Change Counselling to make an appointment.

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The information on this website is intended for general information only. For help, diagnosis, or treatment of specific issues, please see a mental health professional.