An excerpt from Catherine McNulty’s book, The Gifts of Grief.

“You are not alone.”

The intensity of the grief we experience is a result of the love and connection we have with someone else. Understanding that connection and how it relates to who we are is what matters. This is best done with a personal coach or guide. Whether a death occurred in your life recently, or you’ve been holding on to grief for a long time, I encourage you to go out and hire a Grief Coach. Finding a way to connect to someone who can help you can ease the grief process and help you move beyond your grief.

My therapist, Melissa, was the first person I believed who could actually help me. There was something about her that was different and worked for me. Her approach wasn’t like other therapists I had seen. She convinced me that she had concrete tools and strategies that we could use to get me through my grief and find happiness again. She gave me one condition. I had to agree to do the work.

She gave me choices and options, and she took the time to learn what I needed and what strategies worked for me. I followed every word she said and even documented everything in an excel spreadsheet. I learned as I followed up with homework she gave me. She gave me very specific strategies to try. Some worked better for me than others. But I did the work and studied what we discussed. I explored my needs, feelings, and behaviors as I continued to grow through my grief. I learned that the path to healing grief was also the path to self-awareness. The answers I was seeking would only come from within me and not from the outside world. I am forever grateful for the guidance and support that she shared with me.

The biggest problem with grief is that it’s a very isolating emotion. It’s something that separates us from everyone around us. The way society deals with grief is by not really dealing with it! What I do know for sure is that silence about grief doesn’t serve anyone because the people around us are afraid to speak to us for fear that they might hurt our feelings. I came to the point where I stopped reaching out to others for support because I believed that everyone was sick of hearing me talk about how depressed, confused or angry I was. Collectively, we need to realize that grief is a universal emotion that we will all deal with at some point in our lifetime. What can dramatically help the process are the tools and the strategies I’ve gathered that you can use to help you learn more, go deeper into self-discovery and ultimately enrich the meaning in your life.

The number one thing you need to know and commit to is DON’T BE ALONE. You CAN educate yourself and learn to understand the grieving process and how it works. Grieving is a fluid process. It isn’t something that has a timeline and steps that you need to go through one step at a time. It’s a process that you move through. To truly come through your grief and out to the other side, the first place to look is within your own heart and mind. Your path to healing isn’t something that’s going to come to you from something external. It is an internal recovery process. It takes courage to reach inside of yourself and be real with where you are today and where you want to go.

I encourage you to take up exercises like journaling to explore your thoughts and feelings. How are you feeling today? What makes sense and what is confusing to you? What do you need today to love yourself more and feel better?

Acknowledge and accept where you are without judgment. In addition to journaling, if you want to come out of your grief with understanding and true acceptance, having someone to guide you throughout the process is very important. You need somebody who’s on the other side of grief and knows how to guide you through your own grief. You’ll want someone who understands what you’re going through, someone who can make you feel safe, someone to whom you can speak freely, and someone to remind you every day that all of the pain, hurt, and confusion is only temporary.

Catherine McNulty

After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment. Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief. Catherine lives in San Diego with her family where she speaks, writes, and offers coaching to those who want to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and the Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they’ve lost.

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