In this guest blog I am sharing the wisdom of Grief Recovery Specialist, Russell Friedman, from The Grief Recovery Institute. I hope you find this blog helpful.
This week has occasioned the celebration of my 40/20 birthday. At least that’s how a dear friend labeled it – you do the math. Having reached another chronological marker in my life reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother several years ago. “They’re dropping like flies.” That was my mom’s response to my question, “Mom, you sound a little down, what’s going on?” It was the beginning of a phone call nearly 15 years ago. She was about 70 then and as it turned out that week she’d gotten word that several more of her acquaintances had died.
My mom died suddenly 10 years ago and undoubtedly became part of many other people’s similar laments. As folks get older their worlds shrink, at least in terms of the people who populate their world. It was rather eerie to be in a position to counsel my own mother. After all, she was the one who taught me just about everything about life. She taught me manners. She taught me the letters of the alphabet and the numbers we use to count – though I don’t think she ever mentioned 40/20.
Over time, we have been called upon to help people who are stuck under a mountain of losses. Sadly, not uncommon for us, is a call from someone whose entire family was wiped out in a car crash or an airplane tragedy. If it is unimaginable what the impact of the sudden death of a loved one might have on someone, multiply it by having it be dad, mom, brother, and sister all in the same horrid event. Beyond instant accidental tragedies that take a large number of lives, there are many other losses that can make people feel as if it is impossible to ever regain any sense of emotional balance. We are privy to those people who have undergone a litany of losses that are unbearable even to hear about. It is almost impossible to imagine how people survive the emotional onslaught of such repeated devastation. The analogy that seems to be most universal, is the idea of someone flailing in the ocean, going down under a wave, and finally getting their head back above the surface, only to be inundated again and again and again. Talking to my mom that day and talking to thousands of others over the years, I had to deliver this most awkward truth; “If you don’t have the tools for dealing with the first loss, you won’t have the tools for the second loss, the third, the fourth, and down the line.”
We learn CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and other emergency skills so that if and when we are confronted with a medical crisis we will know what to do. Life and death are often measured in seconds and minutes. Yet we are often unwilling to acquire life-saving emotional skills before we are drowning in a sea of sorrow. The experience of pain does not prepare us for recovery; it only teaches us how bad pain feels. There are some lessons we keep putting off until it’s too late. Loss is inevitable. There is no time like the present for learning to deal with life’s losses, before they happen. The Grief Recovery Method provides the tools and correct information to recovery from loss and prepares us for future losses.
Canadian Grief Recovery Method Specialist, Tammy Adams, loves to problem solve, inspire and motivate others who are ready and committed to change. Tammy has spent over 30 years in the field of education and as a Certified Life and Executive Coach Tammy teaches individuals to challenge and conquer their limiting beliefs and insecurities to create the life of their choosing. As a Grief Recovery Method Specialist Tammy understands that unresolved grief can limit an individual’s capacity for happiness and is gifted at supporting individuals through the pain and isolation cause by an emotional loss, of any kind, to a place of happiness they believed no longer existed. A Tammy client testimonial, “Tammy helped me unpack the baggage and put a smile on my face in the process. It’s a rare quality for someone to fully listen without judgement but yet still steer you in the right direction.”