Grief: Fear and Acceptance

Sofia has been coming in for about three years, every two months or so. Occasionally she has physical aches and pains, but most sessions are preventative, to help maintain good mental health. Sofia is one of those people who deals with her difficult childhood by being relentlessly optimistic. Like the character Rob Lowe played on the tv show parks and rec, though I never seen Sofia do celebratory lunges.

When she came in the other day she seemed especially happy; feeling healthy, work and home were going well, and her daughter just got into her preferred college. When I came onto her system I felt nothing at first, as if her system were too fatigued to even acknowledge my presence. Then a flash of anger at me which quickly shifted to some deep sadness. Throughout this my hands rested lightly on her feet, then I went underneath her sacrum and the back of her head. I held her without judgement, simply observing the sequence of emotions. As the sadness faded her system began to feel more energetic, her flow feeling more vibrant.

She got up off from the treatment table and we moved back to the chairs. She asked me what I felt. I described the sadness and asked if she knew what it was about.

Oh yes.” She said quickly. “my cat just died.” I wondered why she hadn’t said anything at check-in but it did explain the sadness. I asked if she had been close to her cat and she described the love and devotion she felt to her cat and how he had been a comfort for her through some rough times. She said had tried talking to her friends about her grief, but they seemed uncomfortable with this relentlessly optimistic person being sad, so they quickly changed the subject.

With the information about her cat dying I could look back at the table time and understand what happened: at first her system was reluctant to share (the sense of nothingness or fatigue), then she feared I would ignore or judge her grief or so became defensive and angry. Once she felt confident I understood the importance of her feelings of loss her system was able to move forward. The flood gates opened and the true feelings, the grief, arose.

This doesn’t mean she wasn’t still sad about losing the cat, nor should it. At the end of our session she was very grateful. She felt heard and respected, and that felt much better.


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