Mountains to Climb, Losses to Endure

By Mary Ellen Wierschem, Licenced Clinical Social Worker

Life is like that.  Just when things are going steady, you’re blindsided by the death of your health-conscious cycling buddy.  Your younger sister succumbs to breast cancer after a valiant battle.  The neighbors’ 6 year-old dies of an obscure illness after months in Starship.  Your son dies in a motorcycle accident leaving behind broken-hearted parents, a wife, and three young children.

Even when losses are anticipated, we feel shock when the final blow hits.  You can know your husband is dying for two years, care for and support him, and even find some degree of relief of your own suffering when he dies, yet still experience a sense of disbelief when it happens.  Dr. Kubler-Ross wrote about stages that capture the essence of the challenges of facing death, which are equally as valid in negotiating any major loss:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  We start with “It can’t be so” and only much later arrive, after much agonizing and stretching, in a new emotional territory, one we couldn’t have described or imagined.  Who we are is forever changed.

Since nobody escapes these shocks to the emotional system, it can be comforting to share the growing pains, and to talk about the experience when you’re ready.  It can be helpful to meet with a social worker or counselor when the pain is acute, and when you’re ready, to meet with a group of people who share the common experience of life’s losses and find comfort in being reminded for a few weeks that they are not alone in their grief.

Central Connect is hosting a S.O.D.A. (Sorting Out Depression and Anxiety) Club for ten weeks, Wednesdays starting 12th October at 10:30.  We will talk, share a cuppa, and learn about a different aspect of depression or anxiety each meeting.  If it feels like the time is right, call Mary Ellen at 858 9891 to be included.