What is a grief coach and how do I know if I need one?

Your heart is broken.  You are overwhelmed with sadness. You are numb.  You can’t believe what has happened.  No one knows how you feel. How could they?  They didn’t have the relationship that you had with your child.  You’re not even sure you WANT to feel better. It wouldn’t be right to feel good when your child is GONE.

Not everyone who has lost a child is READY for Grief Coaching.  There are those early days where you must go through the rawest, realest emotions that exist.  In order to get to a place where you can even consider trying to find a new way in the world, you have to feel these feelings.  This can last weeks, months or in some cases years.

But when you begin to function again, and wish you could feel better, but you feel stuck, enter a Grief Coach….

A Grief Coach isn’t there to push or pull you.  She simply wants to walk beside you in your grief and help you explore where you are right now and figure out your next steps.  She may open your eyes to new possibilities or help you find the “old you”. The most important thing is that you discover these things in a way that is meaningful and comfortable for YOU.

I believe there are 3 important factors in moving ahead when you have experienced this most painful loss.

  1. Tell Your Story – you have to get it out.  You have to share it. There are feelings you have that must be expressed. There are details that must be heard.  In the beginning you are forced to do this as family, friends and others find out about your child. Then hopefully you have a few trusted people in your life that will allow you to tell your story, usually over and over.  Even if you meet someone in the grocery store and you feel inclined to tell them what happened, do it! Then, a Grief Coach can come in and listen without judgement. She has no opinions or information from other people. She is there for you and you only.  You can tell her anything, even things you didn’t feel comfortable sharing with others. Her perspective can be new and different.

  2. Have Gratitude – this may sound crazy because you have lost the most, precious person in your life.  But if you stop and think about it, you DO still have people and things in your life and in the world to be grateful for.  Feeling and expressing gratitude is such an important step. A Grief Coach will assist you in finding different ways to experience gratitude.

  3. Taking Steps in Memory of your Loved One…even baby steps.  In the beginning you know, it’s hard to get out of bed, take a shower, take care of other children, make dinner, etc.  One way to encourage yourself to “do whatever that thing is that you need to do” is to do it in memory of your child. Remember that he or she is gone but you are still here for a reason.  You have an obligation to live your life for the rest of your life. You will find that these baby steps can turn into giant leaps and you may find yourself doing things you never dreamed of.  A Grief Coach can guide you towards these actions.  Her job is to help you transform your life in a way that is comfortable and meaningful for YOU.

Every person’s grief journey is different.  Every Mom is different. Every child is different. Every circumstance is different. But in many ways, we are all the same.  We have all had our lives torn apart by the loss of our child. And we all find ways to live our lives.  Some positive, but some not so positive. I look back and wish I had figured some of this stuff out earlier.  I spent so many years floundering. Sure, I was able to do a version of my life. I raised two amazing children, I went to work, I did “all the things” a regular Mom is supposed to do.  But in the back of my mind, I always wished I could find a way to take action in my son’s memory. It took me almost 20 years to realize the transformation I could make in my life. A Grief Coach would have shown me the possibilities sooner.  So now, here I am, a Certified Grief Coach and almost 23 years after losing my Nicholas, I have found my true purpose in being left here on this earth without him. Working with other Moms like me has filled me up in ways I can’t describe. And now I strive to help those Moms find the things that fill them up.

Karima Neghmouche