Grief is a word that can be used to describe so many things. It can be felt in our body, and it can consume our minds. Grief can impact everything from our decision-making to how we’re ‘showing up’ in relationships. It can be quiet – it can be surprising – and it can be all-consuming. Grief is complex and very few of us get through life without experiencing it. Grief can come from all kinds of experiences and represent loss in all its forms. Betrayal, the death of a loved one, being made suddenly redundant from a job you love … The worst bit is that often when people are in grief, they feel so alone. Isn’t it interesting that something that we all experience at some point can feel so isolating?
COVID-19 has created a polarising experience of grief for so many people. Yes: it’s totally valid to grieve the life you used to live – one that didn’t involve masks and homeschooling – but did allow dancing and parties! There’s technically a difference between grief and bereavement. But don’t mix up depression with grief. They can all go together, but they are different things. This article is not written by a medical expert, so if you’re reading this feeling intense sadness, we encourage you to call someone. It’s been written by a coaching team that has been having hundreds of coaching conversations about the experiences people are having. We’ve heard clients talk about the funerals they couldn’t attend, the family wedding they’ve missed and the new babies they haven’t been able to cuddle. Teams have grieved the events they couldn’t run and Friday night drinks, not to mention that sense of connection that comes from being in the same room together. Have you found yourself saying: ‘I just want things to go back to normal?’ or ‘Will I ever not feel sad about this?’
The intention of this article is to say: keep going. Ask for help if you need it. There’s someone out there who wants to support you and will feel privileged that you called them. There are no timeframes that make sense and no instruction manuals for how to respond. And if none of the above is happening for you, look for someone who could do with some of your energy and time. This is us stepping out of our more practical coaching tone and sending you some gentle support and a virtual hug if you need it.
Here are two very short clips that explain grief in quite different ways:
- The Simpsons – ‘Five stages of grief’ (01:15) – is a light-hearted look at the five stages of grief from Homer Simpson’s perspective.
- ‘How does grief change over time?’ (00:43) – several of our clients have shared this BBC clip with us, putting forward the idea that our grief stays the same, but our life grows around it.
Meanwhile, here are three coaching questions for you to work through if grief is hitting you hard right now:
- Am I still doing the things that bring me joy and comfort?
- Who can hold space for me and truly be in the moment when I need them to be?
- Do I understand enough about the grief experience, or should I do some learning?
If you’re looking to explore grief further, consider tuning into Terrible, thanks for asking. Hosted by Nora McInerny, who penned It’s okay to laugh (crying is cool too), the podcast hears from people who, refreshingly, share their honest feelings about how they’re really doing. Something we should all aim to replicate in our own lives.
– The Coach Place Global
Image by @Stefan Grage
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