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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana March 2018 Issue

The Voice of Southwest Louisiana News Magazine March 2018

Peace from Pieces By

Peace from Pieces By Carra Sergeant, LPC Licensed Professional Counselor On Death and Dying: Swimming in the Tidal Wave of Grief “The trouble is, you think you have time” Buddha Death, while painful, is a necessary part of the circle of life. One’s viewpoint on death can come from three different mindsets or can be an amalgam of all three: 1. Naturalistic: From the moment you are born, your journey towards death has begun. 2. Pessimistic: We will all die – that we know for sure. Should we continue to participate in the futilities of life, during which we experience hardship (possibly undeserved) and never be able to know why? 3. Optimistic: Life should not be a journey to just arrive to your grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, dirt on your face, all used up and screaming “WOOHOO – WHAT A RIDE”! I am more of a “WOOHOO – WHAT A RIDE” kind of person, so let me tell you how that “woohoo” mindset affects my views, perceptions and feelings toward death: I choose not to fear death. I am more afraid of an unlived life. I choose to live each day with purpose. It does not have to be anything big – just at least one thing, every day that I can look back on and say, “I DID THAT”. I choose to wake up each day thanking God, IN ADVANCE, for whatever learning opportunities are presented to me on that day. No matter how easy or how hard, every experience is a chance to learn something new. I choose to remind my loved ones daily that they are loved. We are not promised tomorrow – don’t let the minutes slip away with words of love left unspoken. One can never be prepared for death’s inevitability, even when it presents itself as a merciful angel. It is painful, hurtful, maddening and potentially devastating. Death throws us, often unexpectedly, into a tide of grief which we are often unequipped to navigate. We are left tossing and turning in the waves, unable to pull our head above water long enough to catch our breath. We fight and struggle and wail and scream and rage against the powers that have thrown us into the waters that we fear may actually cause us to drown. STOP! Stop swimming AGAINST the tide, and learn to just ride WITH the tide. Pope Paul VI once said: “Grief is like the ocean. It comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim”. So how does swimming WITH the tide, as opposed to swimming AGAINST it, actually FEEL? •• Overwhelmingly sad, yet powerful! There is strength in going with the flow – it is less exhausting, so you can stay safely afloat for a longer period of time. Accepting the sadness and just laying back into it is an empowering self-care technique. Trust that you can float. Trust that you will not drown! Trust that you are strong and resilient and that it is not weak to face your sadness head-on. •• Permanent…and in some sense, that is the truth. Grief is lifetime process. That is not to say that we are miserable for the rest of our lives, but 20 March 2018 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 5 • Number 8

death does leave an indelible mark. Once we can wrap our brain around that fact, we somehow find the strength again to put one foot in front of the other and start wading towards the shore. Once there, life begins to resume a comforting sense of normalcy. •• Lonely, but you are not really alone. Grieving is a very individual process. No two people grieve in the same way; therefore, no one can actually really understand how you feel. That being said, don’t self-isolate. Allow your friends and loved ones to support you. They do not need to understand how you feel to be able to hold you afloat; they just have to accept how you feel as natural – FOR YOU. •• Terrifyingly out of control. It is important for you to be able to give yourself permission to be emotional where you are at any time. Too often, we place so many “shoulds” on ourselves that we hinder our ability to heal. There is no “should” for how you are supposed to feel. There is no “should” for how long you feel what you feel. There is no “should” for when you need support or for how long. STOP FIGHTING. Relax and allow yourself to flow without resistance through the tumultuous waters. Grief is raw and real. It is harsh and hard. It shakes your faith and shatters your confidence. Remember, however, that this too, shall pass and that you will eventually reach a place of acceptance and peace. You will surrender to the reality of the loss. Eventually the shore will come, you will find your balance and the tidal wave will subside. My friend, who is a hospice worker, shared this with me as a most appropriate ending for this article: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am… Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV) Excerpted from John Chapter 14. For useful information on dealing with grief, check out these articles: Coping with Loss: Bereavement and Grief | Mental Health America www.mentalhealthamerica. net/conditions/coping-lossbereavement-and-grief Dealing with grief: Confronting painful emotions - Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/ healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/ in.../grief/art-20047261 Grief: What’s Normal and How to Cope - WebMD https://www.webmd.com/ balance/normal-grievingand-stages-of-grief#1 Carra Sergeant, LPC PEACE FROM PIECES COUNSELING SERVICES For an appointment, call 337-515-6716 Accounting • Assurance • Auditing Tax • Business Accounting Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times. Jonald J. Walker III, CPA, CGMA Kelly Love, CPA Christine Pundt, CPA 2740 Rue de Jardin, Ste. 100 | Lake Charles, LA 70605 337.478.7902 5100 Westheimer Road, Ste. 231 | Houston, Texas 77056 713.588.4460 www.jwalkerco.com Volume 5 • Number 8 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM March 2018 21

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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana
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