Catholic Grief Counseling


#1

My dad died on April 20th at the age of 96yrs old. He had been ill for many years so when he finanlly died I was surprised that I was relieved that he had finallly died and nolonge suffering.

I decided to go for grief group counseling at my church. After the session was over I felt I really didn’t need counseling.I felt okay and still do.
There was an old man who had lost his wife of 68yrs. and I felt so sorry for him and his adult son who was also grieving the loss of their loved one.

We were given an hand-out that had a lot of good things to help us in our grief.
BUT…there was something in the booklet that I didn’t agree with and that is that we will never see our loved ones again. That is true but I believe that we can still talk, see, smell, sense, and that they are in the spirit world waiting for us when it is our time to die.
There are some religions that believe that once a loved one is dead they are gone forever. I believe the opposite.

It comforts me to know that I will see my loved one again in spirit when my time comes to die. I have had experiences where I could smell a loved one’s perfume, I could sense them at times being around me, and I do talk with them at times knowing I will not get a response. Some people have seen their loved ones after they passed away.

What experiences have you had?


#2

We were given an hand-out that had a lot of good things to help us in our grief.
BUT…there was something in the booklet that I didn’t agree with and that is that we will never see our loved ones again. That is true but I believe that we can still talk, see, smell, sense, and that they are in the spirit world waiting for us when it is our time to die.

That’s odd coming from a Catholic source. In Heaven we are with God, but we get to see or loved ones too, because hopefully, they are with God too.

I remember Father Groeschel speaking about the death of his own father. He was very worried that he wouldn’t be able to find his wife after he died. He would say something like, How will I find her, there are so many people there.

When he died, he had the most beautiful smile on his face, leading Father Groeschel’s brother to say, “He’s found her.”

My Dad died 10 years ago…I really hope to see him again, along with my Grandparents and all my family members.

And I am pretty sure, that if our loved ones are in heaven, they can intercede for us.
Perhaps the literature meant we don’t see them on earth anymore?


#3

The lady who wrote the booklet had the experience of her husband die in a car accident. She is a very dramatic writer with her own ideas of death. I wish this booklet was not handed out to grieving people because we all grieve in our own ways.
There is no such thing as that we all grieve the same way.

The title of the booklet is “Grieving the Death of a Loved One”, by Elizabeth M. Collier, M.S.

There are many things that I question on what she has written.
She even had a Jewish Prayer from the Rabbi’s Manual 1988. I also believe that some of the things she says comes from the Jewish religion. I am not sure but I think the Jewish people believe that once you die you are gone forever…you don’t even live in spirit. I had a Muslim friend say the same thing to me. I was surprised that she didn’t believe in the spirit world. That our spirit lives on.

Quote: “In this world, we will never be able to talk, see, smell, or touch this person again”. I agree that we can’t have our loved one in solid form in our life but we do have them in spirit. That is what keeps me alive with the joy that my loved ones spirits are around us and that we may see them again when we die.

Some of us get messages from the other side too. For example; you walk into your house and you “smell” your mother’s perfume.

You may be outside in the garden and all of a sudden "You feel your parents’ love for a few minutes and they have been gone for many years. She felt they were hugging her. It happened to a friend of mine.

A friend of mine saw the spirit of a loved one who had just passed away a few weeks before.

A child who had lost his dad a few years ago told his mother that his father wanted a taste of his ice cream that he was eating. The child would talk to the spirit of his father until one day his father’s spirit must have felt his son was okay and he could move on.
The child would say things that only the mother knew it to be true.

I think that experiences like I have just written gives people who are grieving hope that they may get to see their loved ones again when their time comes. It gives me hope.

I think each person has to write their own journal of feelings and thoughts.
When my adult son died all of a sudden 10 years ago… I went for private grief counseling and the counselors helped me a lot. I did a lot of research and found out that we all grieve in our own way.

I wish this grief counselor would not pass out this booklet with steps on how to grieve. I prefer just to talk about my feelings and thoughts and the other people in the group should also express themselves. It would be a more fruitful experience for the grieving people.
I mentioned to the group that the Holy Spirit of God is with us always. The spirits of the angels and saints are also with us. That the spirit of God is all around us. The spirit of Jesus is with us.
And… the spirit of our loved ones are also around us at times.


#4

yes we will most definitely be reunited with our loved ones, body and soul, on the last day, that is our hope, and why we pray for the dead, and why prayers for the dead are so essential as part of Catholic mourning and grief. those prayers, no matter when offered in time, avail the person at the moment of death in their eternal choice for or against God, so are always efficacious. The only ones we will not see are those who wilfully and finally rejected God, so we pray for our loved ones constantly in this life and afterward.


#5

Hi Annie, I just read an article in the L.A. Times newspaper yesterday that talks about how times have changed in the style of grieving the loss of a loved one. The title of the article is “When Parents Die”. It talked about how psychotherapists like Jeanne Safer who has written books have noticed a new change in their patients when their senior parents die since the 1990’s. This article really helped me a lot in understanding my strange feelings of relief when my dad died. I felt free from him. My dad was not really a nice father as I was growing up as a child but I still did my duty in taking care of him.

These patients are adults who never seemed to be able to please their parents nomatter how hard they tried to please them. Once the parents died they feel free to do what is best for them. But at the same time they keep an ongoing bond with their dead parents.
The adult child starts to let go of some of the advice and expectations their parents had of them.

I was totally taken by surprise when my 96yr.old dad died and I felt relieved. I used to wake up every morning worried about finding the best care for him since he had been ill for a few years.

My Mom and my siblings were also envovled in their own ideas for his care. I saw things differently than they did. So, it was a real hassell for me everyday.

I thought I would be crying lots of tears for my old dad but instead I just cried a few tears here and there at times. I realized that I had been a good daughter to him and took care of him but I really wasn’t close to him because he had never bothered to get close to me as a child or adult. I never felt any love from him as a child. I did see that he truly loved his grand-children so that made me happy.
I still feel a bond towards my dad and I do talk to him at times. The conversation is one-sided.lol. I make believe that my dad is young and healthy in heaven with some of his relatives who came to pick him up when he died. I truly believe that he is in the spirit world and I will see him again when I die.

It makes me feel good to know that I will see some of my loved ones again on the other side.


#6

Please visit cmdutil.googlepages.com/home It’s a web page that supports people who are lonely through prayer & companionship via email.


#7

Hi CMDUTIL, Thank you for trying to cheer me up BUT… I am not a lonely person. I have many friends and on Monday I am going on a cruise to Vancouver. I love to cruise with friends.
I have several cruises booked this year. I booked a Halloween cruise, a cruise in Sept. with my church group, and in Dec. with a singles group of 240 persons. I know some of them already since with have our own message board.

This topic is on grief counseling. But thank you anyway. Lucy


#8

My experience so far is that counselors, even Catholic ones, have bought into the current “psychology” of grieving. They think everyone should go through the “stages” of grief. They think everyone must despair. Despair is for those with weak faith. We must pray for them.

After Gabriel died, I worked very hard and prayed very hard to grieve in a faithful way. The night before he was buried, I read St. Paul’s words, “Do not grieve as the unbelievers do, who have no hope.” Someone bought me “Travel Guide to Heaven”. This is not a grief book, but a fun, speculative look at what we may have in store for us (and what our loved ones are already enjoying). I had read this just a few days after he died. I felt that, while his death was unbelieveably traumatic in its nature, we were doing far, far better than most bereaved parents at pretty much every stage.

Still, people would see us and say, “It’s okay, you’re still in denial”.

My parents (who also lost a child) would tell my sister, “just wait a few weeks, they’re gonna crash.”

This irritated me. How on God’s earth could I be in denial? I held his heavy limp body and tried to do CPR! I saw his dilated eyes. I saw the inevitable sheet over his body! DENIAL?!? I was insulted.

I miss him. I’d love to hold him. I longed to hear him say, “mama milk?” But I knew that my job was done. With the help of an incredible well known priest, I came to see very quickly that Gabriel had arrived. He will never have pain, sorrow, injury. He will have only joy and love. He is home. He is where we want to be.

Even people in the Catholic grief group here whose loss was not so new would say things like, “I’d trade places with him (his dead son) in a heartbeat. I’d do anything to have him back.” I was incredulous. I’d reply, “Are you serious? You’d take your son from heaven??” They’d stare blankly while other people would say how not everyone has my faith.

So, what we have is a basic lack of actual faith in our beliefs. Our faith states (in the creed, no less) that we believe in the COMMUNION OF SAINTS AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY AND LIFE EVERLASTING. Add to that Jesus’ words that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived of what God has ready for those who love Him.”

The only conclusion is the realization that they are, in fact, more alive than we are. We are in the motel 6 with criminals just outside the door ready to attack. They (our dearly departed) are livin it up in the RITZ!!! And, they are praying for US.

God is Good. My Gabriel is with Him. What more could a mom want?


#9

Hi Dranzal, I totally agree with what you just wrote.

When my adult son died 10yrs ago…my relatives thought I was crazy because I was happy at the Memorial Service for my son.
I was saying some wonderful things about my adult son.

When my son died I was in God’s grace. I felt that God wrapped me in his veil of love to protect me from any type of problem or grief. I handled it very well because I knew that someday my adult son was going to die young because he had a brain tumor. Nobody knew he had that medical problem.

Your loss has been recent and your belief in God has kept you believing that your son’s spirit is still around you. I feel the same way. It gives me a lot of comfort.

I do cry sometimes because I am crying for me. I know that my son is happy with God and his relatives on the other side.

Yes, it is amazing how we all grieve differently.
We don’t need people or booklets to tell us how to grieve.

I thought that after my dad died that my Mom would be grieving every day for her loss but she is doing good. I think the main reason being is that she started grieving for my dad months before he died. When Hopice came to care for my dad medically that also helped her in being prepared for his death.

She likes being around people and always has company. Today she is going out for a ride with my adult sister.
I thought she was going to be a basket case but I am so glad that she is surviving the loss of my dad. I thought I would have to be consoling her everyday but I didn’t have to do it. Great.

My Mom’s personality is totally different than mind. She handled her loss and grief differently than I did. She found her own way.
She had been with my dad for 70yrs.

Some people get totally devastated when they lose a loved one. They doubt God. A friend of mine said, "God, what did I do to deserve this loss? I told her…“Your Mom was very ill and old and it was her time to go.” “We are born and then we die but we still live in spirit”. This friend handled her grief by going out every night dancing or being with friends. That is how she handled her grief.

Americans don’t like to talk about death. They close their eyes to our reality. My Mom wouldn’t let me make funeral arrangements in advance. She got really angry with me when I tried to do that.
When my dad died I just let my sister and other relatives take care of everything. They got angry with me because I wouldn’t participate. There were too many hands in the pot which means they really didn’t need me.

dranzal, thank you in sharing your loss of your child. Yes, your child is still in spirit bringing the whole family joy. He will be waiting for you with open arms when your time comes.
I feel my son will be waiting for me too when my time comes. That really comforts me. Hugzz, Lucy


#10

People to grieve differently. However, a deep abiding Catholic faith will find true joy in grief. There is no despair.

This is what most of our society’s mourners are missing.


#11

Hi Dranzal, I sent you a private message. LaLucia


#12

My neighbors DAD died while he save other people during the calamity last Monday august 6, 2012. When the flash flood hit the city. He is our new Hero that was lost. :sad_yes:

I wanted to share with you a new application that I’m using to create a memory book for my neighbors DAD who recently passed away. It’s called Evertalk and it’s a Facebook application. I found it to be very easy to use and highly recommend it. www.everta.lk


#13

I have had many unexplained experiences regarding my mother-in-law who died several years ago. I smell her perfume; her favorite number was 13 and I see it everywhere. We didn’t know this until her internment but her family grave in Queens is on the corner of 13th Street and 13th Street.

I believe Kathryn was a saint.

One day I said to my husband, “How come my parents have never come to me?” A few days later my son called. He said, "Mom, remember the family joke about your mom’s bumper sticker: “I’d Rather Be Reading Jane Austen?”
“Sure,” said I. We teased mom mercilessly.

He said this morning I pulled into the gym parking lot here in Maryland (we are in NY) at six am. There were three cars there. One had the bumper sticker, “I’d rather be reading Jane Austen.” It had Maryland plates, but I didn’t see anyone in the gym who would have been driving that car.

He never saw it again! Just that once.

As a bereavement counselor, I do not know how people who have no belief in an afterlife cope with life’s disappointments, let alone the loss of a dearly beloved.

Sheila


#14

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