The Weight of Loss – A Case Study

grief-supportA young widow was looking for assistance to help sort through his deceased wife’s and daughter’s belongings. He wasn’t planning to move for another year, but the thought of going through their things was too much for him to bear.

For the sake anonymity, we will call this client Jack. Jack was a professional man who had a very successful career. He had worked diligently to move forward after a sudden and tragic accident claimed the life of both his wife and his daughter many years ago.

Jack was finding the home too big and too empty for him to continue living in the home that he and his wife raised their daughter.
When he called upon us, he was planning to move a year later and needed help starting the overwhelming process of going through his wife’s belongings and his daughter’s too.

Team lead Sylvie & Pierrette met with Jack and listened to his painful story. Jack showed them around his home and upon reaching his daughter’s bedroom, Jack could not enter. Sylvie and Pierrette stopped, quickly glanced in. They did not want to enter her sacred space this early in the process.

As Jack continued to walk them through his home, many other areas were similar to his daughter’s bedroom. This was not going to be an easy journey for Jack.

Once the walkthrough was complete, all three sat in the living room to discuss Jack’s immediate and long-term needs. He wanted to purge the items in the garage and the basement. These would be the easiest rooms to begin to sort. Once those were complete, then Jack could move onto the harder and more emotionally challenging rooms.

Having the plan laid out, Sylvie and Jack worked three times per week, for a few hours at a time. Jack needed time to be present for the task of sorting and making decisions, and he also needed time for other things in his life.

Sylvie and Jack worked together for three months, a few days per week, staggering sessions and giving Jack the time he needed to move through the letting go process.

Recently, Jack called Sylvie and it was time to continue the process. It was time to tackle the most challenging rooms.

Sylvie’s in-depth experience and highly empathetic personality gave Jack the support he needed. Room by room, closet by closet, space by space, Jack made challenging decisions and got through it all.

Jack has not moved yet and is not quite ready at this time. However, he and Sylvie continue to move through his transition, one step at a time, one room at a time, one space at a time.

Moving through a challenging experience should not be rushed or pressured. When time is permitted and available, a slower and more relaxed pace is recommended. For Jack, that meant giving him time to start in spaces that were easiest, without rushing through his entire home. It also meant he could focus on his downsizing without it being the single focus of his life. For him, this was the perfect pace and it afforded him time, energy and the emotional ability to move through his grief and letting go.

If you or someone you know is/are faced with an emotionally challenging loss and you need support, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are trained professionals and we can help.

One comments

  • Barb Paquette says:
    July 11, 2014 Reply

    Pierrette,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. You need to take time to mourn the loss of someone, not rush into making changes, especially leaving the safety of your home. I usually recommend to my clients that if they can, wait at least a year, give yourself time, don’t rush and when needed call in the experts.
    Barb

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