April is counseling awareness month. Our Vice President of Older Adults
and Jewish Community Services, Ellie Schwartzberg, LPC, shares some valuable
advice on coping with the loss of a loved one.
Coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the toughest challenges
many of us will face. And when one loses a spouse, this grief can be compounded.
Although loss is a natural part of life, one may still feel overwhelmed
and struggle to deal with these new circumstances. For most, the sadness
will diminish over time, but taking the time to grieve is a very important
part of the process.
We are naturally resilient and most of us can cope with a loss, and can,
overtime, move on with our lives. But everyone reacts differently to death.
Research shows that most people recover from loss on their own through
the passage of time, especially if they have a strong support system in
place. It is important to remember that there is no “normal”
time period for someone to grieve.
For many years, licensed counselors and other mental health professionals
believed that grief was a process that people went through in a predictable
way until they reached “closure.” (Closure signifying the
point when you had moved on and were no longer grieving.) Experts now
know and understand that grief impacts each person in a unique way and
coping with grief does not follow a particular order or process.
As a licensed professional counselor, I work with individuals who are experiencing
loss. What follows are some strategies that I have found helpful when
coping with the loss of a loved one:
- Talk about the death of your loved one with friends and other members of
the family. Let others know it is ok to talk to you about it as well.
- Accept your feelings. People will experience all kinds of emotions after
the death of loved one and all are normal.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest.
- Celebrate the lives of your loved ones.
Funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Jewish Family
& Children’s Service offers individual counseling, referral
to appropriate resources and advocacy to Jewish people living in the Sun
Cities. Counseling sessions are by appointment at two West Valley locations.
Call 602.452.4660 for an appointment.
Tuesdays at the Lions Community Services Building, 9451 N. 99th Ave in Peoria
Thursdays at the Beth Emeth Synagogue 13702 W. Meeker Blvd in Sun City West
In addition, JFCS has a Bereavement Support Group at Beth Emeth Congregation
every Thursday from 1-2 pm. This group is open to anyone who has lost
a spouse within the past two years.
Counseling professionals understand the importance of your unique cultural
perspective and how this can impact how you handle loss. A counselor will
be sensitive to your traditions and will work with you to establish a
plan that best fits your personal needs.
Grief has many possible faces and can express itself in many different
ways. Remember, you are your own person with your own life experiences
and relationship with the one who died. Don’t be afraid to ask for
help. You may benefit from talking with a licensed professional counselor
who can help you cope, understand and accept your feelings and help you
navigate through the grief process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellie Schwartzberg is the Vice President of Older Adult and Jewish Community
Services at Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) and offers
individual counseling, referral to appropriate resources and advocacy
to Jewish people living in the Sun Cities.