My dad died after a long hospital stay and failure to thrive after several complicated surgeries. My 13 year old nephew died from a drug overdose on my daughters birthday.
In both of these incidents, I experienced beautiful kindness and emotional support from some and the painful recoil and avoidance from others. The fear and discomfort of the latter stung in so many ways, adding little cuts to my emotionally bruised self. I dissected those cuts, those moments. Intellectually, I knew they weren’t about me, but they pierced my core, they offended me still, and oh man, they HURT SO MUCH. Grief is so isolating to begin with, and these made me spend most of my energy holding myself together, strapping my emotions in – all so I wouldn’t make others uncomfortable.
And I learned that the pain subsided as I shifted my focus to the helpers.
As Mr. Rogers says, “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” Those who sat with me while I wept, unable to speak. Those who held my hand, who took me to the airport, who watched Grace for a bit, who dropped off food, who remembered to ask me how I was and listen, even if I didn’t want to answer.
The idea of holding space become more and more prominent in my creative work: I wrote and directed a short film about it, and am currently working on a Young Adult novel with this as a central theme. I also trained as a coach in late 2019, and as we lived through the first wave of COVID and the lockdown of 2020, I realized that this was what I wanted to do.
I want to hold space for people in pain. Help them navigate the unchartered waters of loss and the uncertainty it brings. Explore who they are now that they have been through this challenge, this bliss.
Reveal to them that they are not broken, they are just beautifully, lovingly, painfully human.
What is grief?
Hi, I’m Rachel Fowler, a grief guide and coach. I work with adults, no matter their age.
People grieve for many reasons, the most obvious being the death of a loved one. But any loss can cause grief, and if unattended, that loss will become the foundation for the next one and the next one and soon one can become burnt out, our base line too high to be resilient, feeling stretched incredibly thin.
Let’s start with a definition of grief, from John James & Russell Friedman:
“Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behaviour.”
The key here being change.
Change brings uncertainty. It brings questions about our identity, who we are now that this change has occurred.
Changing jobs - retiring, moving companies, new positions
Changing relationships - death of a parent, child, sibling, lover, spouse. Or a breakup, a divorce
Changing countries - international moves! I’ve done my fair share of these
Changing houses - even more of these!
There are lots of positives that may come from these for sure, but there is something lost as well. Imagine:
A new mother, in love with her child and mourning her loss of freedom and autonomy
A new husband, thrilled to be married to his love, and missing feeling/being only responsible for himself
A retiree, excited to travel and live the good life, and dreaming of the business collaborations that she no longer enjoys
A family, immigrated to a new country, thrilled to experience new adventures, and missing family, friends, and traditions of their homeland
Whatever change you may be experiencing, or have experienced in the past, it can be daunting to let yourself feel everything.
If a loved one has died, it may feel like you will weep forever. Or that you have to stay strong for everyone around you. Perhaps you feel guilty for having less than loving thoughts about the deceased, sometimes throwing yourself into an existential crisis of shame and denial. And the cycle continues.
Being human is a complex and nuanced experience, and there is room for both dark and light in any personal experience – truly if there aren’t both, it’s hard to tell what’s good and what’s not!
Sessions with me are a safe place to explore your feelings, judgement free, and to give breath to your truth. (insert blog about A Monster Calls) It gives you an opportunity to look at your choices and your relationships and become curious about them. What’s good and what could be even better if…?
I’ll pull gently at some strings to bring your awareness to your story, your coping mechanisms, and we’ll discover what’s working and what could be improved on. Mediation, storytelling, role play, creative writing, and theatre improv are all part of our tool box.
As you move into your new life with this new change, what will you take with you and what will you leave behind?
Let’s discover it together!
Contact me below for a FREE 30 minute session, I can’t wait to hear your story.
I offer a FREE 30 minute session to see if what I do can support your needs