GRIEF

"The past is never where you thought you left it."   - Katherine Anne Porter
 

Before my career started, I had been dealing with grief.  I have experienced grief in many ways throughout my life as most people reading this have.  The journey of grief often comes back as if it has never been processed before.

Grief work in my professional career began very early.  My internship for graduate school was at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.  I worked almost exclusively with the bone marrow transplant patients and my very first patient died from his body rejecting the transplant.  It was an incredibly painful experience for his family and to bear witness.

I have worked with different kinds of grief with my clients; divorce, moving, death of a pet, losing a job, losing a relationship, identity changes, and life transitions.  These kinds of grief are experienced all the time, it is not merely a death of a loved one.

As my career advanced, I began to witness the makings of complex grief, those grappling with the traumatic grief of loved ones.  I determined it was important to improve my skills in grief counseling.  Recently I completed the intense grief certification training through the MISS Foundation.  I am a certified Compassionate Bereavement Care provider through the MISS Foundation.  This training, taught by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, is for the traumatically bereaved individual and family.  This traumatic grief counseling is especially useful for those parents that have lost a child.  Beyond working with parents, this grief counseling is also great for siblings, partners, spouses, and children that have suddenly and tragically lost a loved one.

There is an intensity to this grief and it can be prolonged.  Some individuals are ready to heal and process the grief.  Others are ready in small amounts, beginning therapy and coming back from time to time.  There is no right way to grieve and there is no magical path of stages, it is a spiral staircase that twists and turns, going back and forth.

Copyright.  2015.  Artwork by Kristin S. Koepke.  Photos by Robby Koenig.  2015.