By Tracy Lee
Following the death of a loved one, there may be a significant need to reach out for emotional support.
This can be accomplished through a support group, an understanding cleric, a professional funeral practitioner or a therapist.
How do you know if you need professional assistance?
If you find that you have unanswered questions or that you need a tool to help you cope with the loss, you might benefit from professional support.
When you break your limb, you go to a qualified care professional for proper wound care.
Why wouldn’t you go to a qualified care professional when your life has broken?
Qualified wound care is just as important for your soul as it is for your limb.
I was visiting with a group of friends last night and one mentioned that she had avoided the funeral of another friend’s husband last week. The first friend lost her husband nearly 19 years ago, yet even now, her pain prevails so deeply that it keeps her from supporting others in their hour of need. I wondered last night, does my friend need counseling nearly 20 years after the death of her husband? I wrestled with this thought all night, and, at length, concluded she does not.
I have another friend who lost her husband nearly 29 years ago, not to death, but to another woman. This friend remains bitter in every aspect of life. She does not socialize. She remains at home day in and day out with the curtains drawn and the lights turned low. Her thoughts are consumed with what her life was and where her life would be, were it not for the weaknesses of her husband.
She grieves the loss of the life she envisioned and committed to when she was a young bride. Her grief has stolen 29 years of her life, her health, and her happiness.
I compared my two friends last night and wondered, does my second friend need counseling nearly 30 years after the loss of her husband? Unlike my first friend, at length, I concluded she does.
My first friend, although unable to attend a funeral, is an active woman with an active life. She has a group of friends with whom she engages socially and emotionally. She is active in her church and community. She plans and attends parties, baby showers, and community improvement events. She travels to visit her grandchildren and actively contributes to the lives of many young people by teaching them the importance of honesty, dedication, and integrity.
My second friend carries a wound to her soul with which she cannot cope. She displays classic signs of depression and an inability to move beyond the emotional trauma of her loss. She has failed to rebuild her identity from that of being her husband’s wife and has lived more than half of her life through the pain of lonely deprivation. The stress of her grief has taken a significant toll on her health, emotionally and physically. Her isolation torments her, yet she cannot break through it.
My second friend would benefit from professional support. For the last 29 years, the support of her family and friends has proven insufficient to the depth of her need. The tools a professional therapist would bring to her crisis might liberate her from the prison of debilitating heartache, loneliness, and isolation in which her mind is held captive. Such liberation would bring sweet relief like an oasis in the parched desert. After 29 years of emotional and physical pain, I believe she deserves sweet relief. I have suggested it to her. I pray she finds it.