Telling the Story of Loss

In my work, I’ve come to understand that one of the significant reasons anxiety manifests after the death of a loved one is from not allowing ourselves to fully examine the story of our loss. Some people suppress their stories simply out of not having a natural outlet, and others do so from fear of feeling more pain. In the clinical world this is called grief avoidance, and it can be quite common and normal to want to avoid confronting the loss so directly.

But several things happen when we stifle our stories of loss. Namely we lose the opportunity to really explore that story, to unpack it, to deeply understand it, and to give it a home outside of our bodies. When we find ways to externalize the story we gain the opportunity to see the different ways in which the story we are holding onto serves us or harms us. 

The truth is that even if you are not sharing your story, you are still carrying it around inside of you. Finding ways to let it out, to look at it in the bright light of day, and to share it, helps it breathe a little. It helps us breathe too.

As a species, storytelling is one of our most ancient forms of communication. It is the way in which we have passed down lineage and preserved history. Telling stories is one of the most essential ways we learn about ourselves and our world.

Even if you do not consider yourself a natural storyteller you must recognize your innate ability to be one anyway. Think of the story you tell about how you met your significant other, or how you came to adopt your dog, or the first car you ever bought. There is always a story. And now there is the story of how you lost one of the most important people in your life.

I invite you to join Tembi Locke and myself next month for a 6-week memoir writing course, focused specifically around writing about loss. It will be a healing, cathartic, safe, and inspiring experience beginning October 5th. Spaces are filling up fast - I hope you'll join us!

online grief program claire bidwell smith

My Online Grief Program is now available anytime!

Although registration is closed for the live May 2018 session, I have developed a self-guided version of the course and it's available now!

First, I want to tell you more about where my motivation to take this path and create this program deepened.

I can tell you that when I was a little girl, the idea of growing up to become a grief counselor was not on my list of things to be. But I can also tell you that I am nothing but grateful for the work I do today. A decade of professional experience, working one on one with clients who are grieving, along with my own personal two decades of loss, has given me such a breadth of knowledge.

It is all of this experience and knowledge that I relied upon to design this program and create the content. For ten years I have worked in the field—first in hospice and now in private practice. I have walked alongside hundreds of individuals going through their own deep grief process and in doing so, I have learned so much—not only about grief itself but about how loss shapes us and enables us to see the world in ways we would never have otherwise.

More about my online program: A Safe Place to Grieve | An online course for overcoming the difficult emotions of grief

Over the course of this self-guided program, I help you tap into the aspects of grieving that I have found essential to healing and growing after losing someone you love. I'm with you every step of the way, thinking about my own personal hardships and triumphs and also about each and every client I have worked with. These individuals have truly taught me everything I know today.

Get the full details here