In the society and culture in which I live, there seems to be this belief that one should not speak ill of the dead; as though death now makes the behaviours and aspects of the deceased null and void. This societal belief, and expression from others, can make grief complicated and prolonged for those who were wronged by the individual who died. I have had the honour of working with clients who struggled to mourn the death of their person because they did not have anything good to say about them, other than they were related. By not allowing someone to speak honestly about the relationship they had with the deceased, discredits the life that the living individual experienced. I try to drive home the understanding that just because someone died, does not mean they are now God, or were so when they were alive. To mourn the death of a person, means to be honest and open about your relationship with them to be able to work through the things that cannot be said, the answers that will no longer be received, and the relationship that can no longer be changed. If you are struggling with the death of someone who you hold anger or difficult emotions towards, please visit my contact me page to schedule an appointment.
I have always had a passion for the ‘big questions’; such as how did we get here, what is my purpose, or what happens after we die? I have found a nice spot to sit with these wonders and find out why I felt the need to ask the ‘Big Questions’ in the first place. My curiosity and passion with existential discussion has always been a passion of mine in my own search to meaning and purpose. Now having the space to witness clients ask themselves some big questions has been honouring and enlightening. I have listened and supported them to understand why they are asking themselves these questions, what possibilities they are contemplating, and how they change once they have come to a place where they are content with their answer (or at least content with the purpose on why they asked the question to begin with). One lengthy contemplation I had for a while was trying to balance my desire to have children for all their gifts and love that comes with the process and their simple state of being, but also knowing that there is guaranteed suffering that cannot be avoided, that I cannot prevent. I struggled for some time trying to make the right decision for me- to have children or not to have children. It wasn’t until a wise friend helped me rephrase the question by stating: ‘Knowing what I know now, am I accepting of my parent’s decision to bring me into this world, and would I change it given the opportunity’? This was a PROFOUND moment in my existential self discussion. For the first time, I felt content and acceptance in my thoughts about the topic. I had come to a place where I felt that the answer I had was enough and the original question no longer served a purpose in my current state, and I was able to move forward in my life with peace. Should you be struggling with an existential topic that is impacting your life, please contact me for an appointment; it would be my honour to sit with you to discuss.
The changing of seasons can be a powerful place; the start of new beginnings, or the ending of others. It is a place where we can look at ourselves and the world differently. Perhaps this might be just in terms of wardrobe, activities, or morning ritual, or maybe it means moving, creating a new self, starting a new year, or making a new change. I see these times of change as moments that allow us to be in a different place from where we last were. The change of a season can be glorious, exciting, stressful, uneasy, and even lonely. I remember particularly the changing from summer to fall used to mean the beginning of school, and then end of summer freedom or full-time work; but sometimes it meant being in a new, and potentially unfamiliar situation where it felt like significant adaptation and personal growth was needed. I believe it is in these moments that we have the potential to grow and to becomes better versions of ourselves. To be tested and pushed to go from a place of comfort and familiarity, to a place of new, unknown and wonder. To quote actress, singer, and director, Selena Gomez, ‘But people are put into your life for seasons, for different reason, and to teach you lessons’. If you are finding yourself in a place where you are experiencing change, and feel that you could use some support, please feel free to visit my contact page to schedule an appointment.
The Power of Play
The action of playing has a powerful impact every time we engage in it. It allows laughter and joy, quiet and peace, a joining and an independence. Play gives us space to process what our minds are thinking by creating a bit of distance. This distance allows us to step a step back – look at what is happening – and absorb all that we can at that time. This absorption may be something wonderful and supportive, it could create distance form that which is troubling you (such as the loss of a person, the current stress in your life), or it could help you create strategies on how to get through the tough time you may currently be experiencing. In my practice, and life, I believe in power of play to support emotional regulation, and to relieve unwanted tension. Therefore, I keep things to play with (such as slinkies, putty, balls, colouring books and paint) to help with processing and self-soothing. So please, help yourself to a toy in the office while you come for your session; try and experience the power of play.
With the use of technology now, we are able to get up-to-date information of what is happening around the world through the news, but also through social media. For some, this immediate access to information is very important and enjoyable; for others, it can be overwhelming and bombarding. Public transit ads, social media videos, articles, posts, the television and newspapers continually informing the world of current events and past reminders. The devastation in the world can become so much that it may be impacting your ability to enjoy life, or to live in the moment. Maybe the news even brings concerns forward that you weren’t aware of, or thought had been dealt with or forgotten. Finding balance again can seem difficult or maybe you don’t know where to start. If you find yourself looking for some support on this matter, please visit my contact me page to schedule an appointment.
As we grow up there are (hopefully) adults in our lives who help raise us. They are our caregivers; supporting us with our needs as we grow until we become sufficient enough to do it ourselves. Sometimes, as our caregivers get older, they may end up needing support from us; we then, might become their caregivers. We may need to pay bills for them, buy their groceries, take them to appointments… and we might even need to dress them, bathe them, and help them toilet. For some, it my become a complete role reversal… but perhaps with more pressure or burdens. For example, you may have your own children to raise, or a job to attend to, or your own health concerns that need to be addressed. Depending on the level of care needs for the ageing adult, and the amount of responsibilities and needs of the caregiver, this transition (although new and challenging) may be manageable for a period off time. For others however, the number of requirements needed for the ageing adult and in the caregiver’s personal life, can be overwhelming and unmanageable. Self care and responsibilities may be slipping or put on the bottom of the ‘to do list’. It is at this point where caregiver burnout lives; in amidst the chaos and struggle, making the caregiver overwhelmed with guilt and feeling as though they cannot manage any longer. If you are a caregiver in an part of the process and are looking for some support, please contact me for an appointment. Remember the flight attendant’s instructions: you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping anyone else; this ensures everyone’s safety and survival.
Sometimes the hardest part about grieving the loss of someone or something, is needing something from someone close to you and not getting it. Whether that is a hug, a conversation, help… anything. We can get frustrated in needing something from the person next to us and not getting it, EVEN IF we may feel that we are expressing ourselves outwardly. Here’s the thing, no one is a mind reader. No matter how many looks or bodily movements we make, it doesn’t mean the person with you understands what you want and need. Countless times I have heard clients say ‘why doesn’t my partner hug me/talk with me about it/ let me sit by myself/etc.?’ Sometimes this can be so frustrating for my clients, that they report fighting and having angry outbursts that they did not want or mean to have. Every time I hear this, my first question is, ‘Have you asked for what you want? Actually said it to that person?’. More times than not, no one has asked. They have ASSUMED that the other person should know what they want because of the way they are behaving. When this happens, I will continually remind my clients that no one around them is a mind reader, no matter how well they might know us. Therefore, it is imperative that when you want something, I strongly encourage you to ask for it. Worst case scenario: they say no, and you have to look for that support elsewhere. If you yourself are feeling stuck in this position, I encourage you to try this yourself, and if you would like some support in this matter, please feel free to visit my contact me page to make an appointment, as I would very much appreciate the opportunity to help you move through this as you feel comfortable.
Some days, getting out of the house when it is wet and cold just does not seem like a good idea. Some days, you might not feel like talking to others, or just want to relax in front of the TV and watch a movie. Some days, you might feel like you need to have a good cry. Should you find yourself in any of these moments, here is a list of movies that highlight what the loss of a loved one feels like. I hope that in those moments, you feel comforted; you are not alone.
- Still Alice
- Sophie’s choice
- Steel Magnolias
- Terms of Endearment
- PS I love you
- The Notebook
- The Bucket List
- Step Mom
- The Kite Runner
- The Descendants
- The Lovely Bones
- Patch Adams
- Seven Pounds
- My Sister’s Keeper
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven
- City of Angels
- Tuesdays with Morrie
- Lorenzo’s Oil
- My Girl
- Sister Cities
- Little Piece of Heaven
- Six Feet Under (TV series)
- My Little Princess
This just a small, varied list of movies that cover different types of death and of loss that I have seen and have loved. I hope that you find one that suits you well and brings comfort and normalcy to what you are currently experiencing.
Should you have any movies that you enjoyed that focus on loss, please feel free to let me know for the next time a list is posted. I am always looking to add to the list to help clients along their journey. Please send any comments, questions or suggestions through my Contact Me page.
Have you heard of a vision board? Have you utilized them? If you haven’t heard of a vision board before, let me introduce you to them. Vision boards are a visualization tool used to remind yourself of the goals you have set out for the year. Typically, they are created at the end of December/beginning of January, or at the beginning of a big change. They are used to set new goals, a new vision, or update the purpose of what it is that you want to achieve in the upcoming year. The vision board can be made from whatever it is that you want; it is an expression of yourself through cuts outs, print outs, drawings, or written words. The idea is to complete it, and hang it somewhere you will see every day, and let it stay there for the year. It is the hope that you will see it, even if you do not read it, daily. It is the hope that what you have put on your board will consciously, or subconsciously, remind you of the goals you have put out for yourself. Then, at the end of the year, when it is time to make a new one, you are able to look at it and reflect back to see what your year has been like. What did you achieve? What is still growing? What do you want to change? What do you want to stay the same? I find vision boards to be incredibly helpful and empowering. I have been completing them for the past 3 years, and have found them to be the most powerful reminder of what it is that I have accomplished in the past year, and a constant reminder of what it is that I want to achieve this coming year. If you would like to make a vision board, I encourage you to do it. If you are looking for guidance and support in this, to get you started, please feel free to visit my Contact Me page to schedule an appointment. I would be delighted to discuss and accompany you in your fist vision board development.
You may notice that throughout my website and blog posts, that I will repeatedly use the terms ‘death’, ‘dead’, and ‘dying’. This is not to remind you of the impact you may be currently feeling, but to help normalize the use of those words. I believe that using words or phrases that are used frequently in our current society might ‘soften the blow’ for others, but I do not want to minimize what has happened in your life. Too many times in our society do we use words or phrases that lighten the impact of things that have impacted us greatly, in hopes of sparing others of our pain. Your pains, your loss, your fears do not need to be softened for me. I want to talk about the impact you are feeling, the grief and mourning you are experiencing, and at times, the unbearable pain that you feel.
Additionally, in our current society, we have taken these words out of our language to help ‘ease the pain’ to children and teens. However, as you can read in my post ‘Talking with Children and Teens about death and the loss of someone in their life’, it is very important to use the proper terms when talking about death and dying, as to not to confuse or create fear in our little ones who might not understand what ‘gone’ or ‘has passed away’ mean. If you are curious about my perspective, or would like help with the upcoming or past death, please connect with me through my contact me page to request an appointment, as I would very much appreciate the opportunity to support you or answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have.