One night when I was ten years old I was lying in bed unable to sleep. I felt an uneasy sense that something was wrong. I heard a knock at the door and a moment later the sound of my mother cry "oh my God!" I knew it was very bad and was afraid to come out of my room. The next morning my mother came in and said "Timmy (my brother) has gone to Heaven." He and his girlfriend Debbie had been killed in a car accident. I felt numb and in shock. How could this be, he was only sixteen years old and in good health? Young people aren't supposed to die! It didn't seem right or fair.
This was my first experience with death and it woke me up to the reality that death could come anytime to anyone. I lost my closest brother and our family was never the same. My parents were traumatized and I watched as they struggled over what they should have done differently that tragic night, as they sat by his gravesite and cried, as they grieved the loss of their son. From that time on there would always be an empty chair where he sat at the dinner table, and his handsome form missing in our family photographs.
When we lose a loved one whether a spouse, child, relative, friend, or pet we go through an experience of emotional turmoil and depending on the circumstances of the death can take years to recover. The death of a loved one is a very difficult experience and it helps to have a person who can help you through the pain.
My approach to grief and loss counseling is to provide a safe and comfortable place for expressing the many feelings, thoughts, and emotions that come up after the death of a loved one. In grief counseling we talk about your loved one, your relationship with him/her, the circumstances of their death, and how to go on and live a happy and meaningful life.