Where to begin?? There is so much I want to say and so many things to talk about that I’m almost – almost! – at a loss for words! Let’s start at the beginning…
I’m a New York state licensed master’s level social worker with over 10 years of counseling experience with people who are dying, their families, and their bereaved family members. I view the bereavement counseling I provide as companioning – a term coined by Dr. Alan Wolfelt (I’ll talk more about this in another post). Essentially, it is walking alongside another as they try to find their way through the wilderness of their grief (as he says). So often though, people don’t know how to interpret what they’re thinking and feeling. We live in a culture in which grief, or intense emotionality, or even suffering, is seen as something to rise above, deny, avoid. My hope is that through this blog, and in my counseling, I can help to translate the intense emotionality and other effects of grief into something understandable and knowable.
Why “Translating Grief”? As individuals, we think we have a basic understanding of what grief is as a whole. We know there will likely be tears and sadness and maybe some loneliness and yearning for that person, but there is so much more to grief. It doesn’t only affect us emotionally. It also affects us cognitively, socially, physically, and spiritually. So often people call me and ask “Am I crazy?” thinking that some aspect of what they are experiencing is not normal. As a society, we expect others to be “over” their grief by the time the wake, funeral and/or memorial services are over. We expect people to rejoin their lives without interruption – take three days off from work (a typical bereavement leave) and return to your “old self”. Translating Grief is my attempt at helping others bring expression to their grief. Broadly speaking, to help people to understand what they are experiencing and why, what to expect next, and to offer some tools and techniques that may help with the process. Individually, I hope to give outward language to their inner turmoil. This blog, and its accompanying Facebook page, are an attempt to reach out, to educate, to translate what I know, what others have taught me and what others are writing and saying about grief.
Copyright 2013 by Lisa B. Wolfe, LMSW