“Grief is neither a problem to be solved nor a problem to be overcome. It is a sacred expression of love…a sacred sorrow.” – Gerald May, M.D.
Grief impacts every part of your being. Mourning a loss can affect you physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When the loss is recent and your feelings are raw, speaking with a therapist individually helps you gain an understanding of the intense feelings experienced as you grieve and can help you traverse your grief journey. This is especially true when your relationship with the deceased was complicated or challenging, or when the death was sudden and unexpected or traumatic.
Grieving can be isolating, and you may feel alone. Joining a bereavement support group can help you connect with others who are also grieving and understand that grief is a normal reaction to loss. Being with others who “get it” can be an invaluable resource on your healing journey. Although you may feel tempted to join a group right away, it is often helpful to wait until some time has passed so that you are able to offer support to others as they grieve as well as receive their support.
Sometimes the loss of a loved one is accompanied by spiritual questions and concerns: Why did this happen? Why is it happening to me? I feel like I am being punished. Is there anything for which I can hope? Where is my loved one now? What does Judaism say about the Afterlife? What is the meaning of the Jewish rituals we have been observing? I feel alone and lonely. I need someone who comes from our tradition just to be with me right now.
Your clergy – your rabbi or cantor – can be a valuable resource for pastoral counseling at this difficult time. Our JCFS Chaplaincy Team can also be of compassionate support to you if you do not have a rabbi or cantor or if you prefer to talk to someone outside your community circle.