Life teaches us different lessons as we move through our years. I’ve entered the season of life in which I’ve moved from celebrating my friends’ marriages and births to experiencing grief more often than I anticipated. As friends and family members grow older, deaths, illnesses, and news of broken relationships bring waves of sadness and grief. When we’re younger, we think we’ll get better at understanding the challenges of life, but that isn’t always the case.

I’ve increasingly come to realize several things. First, there are times and seasons for necessary endings. (I’ve borrowed that term from Dr. Henry Cloud, whose book by that name offers excellent insight into what we must give up so we can move forward with our lives.) Second, I’ve learned that we aren’t really often taught how to say goodbye in ways that are meaningful or satisfying. Finally, I’ve recognized that love and grief are sorta like siblings.

As I recently grappled with a deeply painful loss, a thought occurred that I added to my journal: “Grief is like an unwelcome guest at a party. It reminds us that our hearts still work. It reminds us of our humanness — that band-aids can’t cover all wounds and that love may just be its secret twin.”

When we’re brave enough to allow love to enter our lives, we can’t forget that its secret twin is inevitably in the wings, ready to show itself in unexpected moments. Just as we start to believe we’ve figured everything out, love’s sibling shows up and knocks the breath out of us.

Loving someone sometimes including grieving. Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe when we least expect it. And before we can heal from the loss, our grief must be seen, heard, and understood. We have to recognize its existence and its effect on us. Just as we need to process grief in our own way and on our own timeline, we must also extend the same grace when others are grieving.

Helping us understand our need to grieve is one beautiful reason Care to Change exists. Our therapists don’t have magic answers that make everything better and eliminate pain or loss. Afterall, we’re humans, experiencing emotions right along with you. Instead, we’re here to give you a safe space to be seen, heard, and understood. We’re here to give you a place where all are welcome to journey through life’s twists and turns, including those filled with necessary (or sudden) endings and grief. This is partly why I so often say that therapy is for the bravest of souls. It is for those ready to learn and speak their truth. It is for those ready to dive underneath the iceberg of stress and frustration, so they can understand what’s beneath, experience the beauty of rediscovery, and walk through the dark and painful, and even saddest of times.

Therapy is rarely easy, yet it’s so worth the work. Just the other day I received a letter of gratitude from a person who recently walked through painful loss. She said, “To be heard and understood was priceless, and was just the beginning of this healing journey. Thank you for giving me a space to be seen and accepted, even with all the big emotions.”  May this be true for every person who visits Care to Change. May every person know they are welcome. May each person reading this know that we have space for you. To be exactly who you are in this moment. To feel all the feels. To walk through the losses. To experience the freedom, and joy and find practical solutions and steps that move you in the direction you belong.

Please reach out to us when you’re ready for the next step in your journey. We’re here for you.

April Bordeau is the Director of Care to Change. A licensed clinical social worker, she has focused on helping children and families overcome challenges in their lives for nearly 30 years.

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