The loss of a Giant

Shock woke us up on Sunday morning.

Instead of rooting out Munster scarves and jerseys and organising lifts in and out of town, my husband and I sat and stared at our phones in shock and disbelief.
And how do you explain to a five-year old that you’re upset because a man you’ve never met has died? How do you understand it yourself?
The ordinary tempo of the family home continued, as it must; after all, he wasn’t my husband, uncle, friend or cousin…
There’s no allowance for grief here.

Except for all of us, perhaps without even knowing it, that’s precisely who Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley had become. He, like others without us noticing, seep into our consciousness, and our lives. Often unspoken, we hold these men and women as personal heroes, as the standards we want to reach, what we want for our children. And when they go, the void that’s left is as shocking to us as it is painful.

The grief in Limerick this week is palpable.

This open pain is at once comforting and upsetting. It hurts to see others hurt, but it helps so very much, to know we are not the only one grieving for this loss, the loss of a stranger we knew so well.

Grief is a process, without efficient timelines or tidy linear progression. There is no correct way to heal. There is no point at which we should be over it by now. The heartfelt responses of his friends and teammates simultaneously speak to shock and anger, bargaining and depression. That it, “didn’t make any sense yesterday… it doesn’t make any sense today” (Keith Wood), echoes in us all. How many of us asked “Why Anthony Foley”, like David Corkery, feeling defeated in the face of such a cruel God?

But the solidarity in Limerick this week was humbling.

So I ask you to continue to be kind to yourself and to the person standing beside you.
Allow your grief to be. To happen. To take its path.

No, We don’t “accept”, in any way, this loss. To accept it would seem to legitimise it and that is certainly not the case. It’s not ok. We are all too shocked and angry, hurt and confused. But, in the past week, Limerick took his lead, shared in his strength and his leadership and unified. Shoulder to shoulder, side by side, we are standing strong for one another, and through tears, We are proud. Munster Proud.
Irish by birth, Munster by the grace of God.

R.I.P Axel.

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Autumn Chills!

It seems the summer ended almost overnight,  and suddenly we are well on our way to warm winter nights, cosy fires and foggy Autumn mornings.

At this time of year it is important to stay in touch with how we are feeling and with any shift in mood or form, as the nights become longer and days become darker.  A great way to stay in touch with our feelings and to monitor our mood is by using a mood diary, or keeping a journal. Brief annotations throughout the day or week describing how you feel a particular times will help with staying on top of mood swings and, more importantly, help us figure out what times of the day or week we are most vulnerable to feeling low, and cut it off at the pass.

There are some very simple habits to form that can help empower us to take control of our moods.

* Getting ahead of the downward slump/keeping a mood diary.

* Getting out and about during daylight hours.

* Eating regular, healthy meals.

* Staying in contact with others.

* Keep your mind challenged, reading, classes, crafts or hobbies.

If you feel that oncoming winter is dragging you down feel free to call me on 087 7097477 and we’ll can work on exploring your perspective so that  you can look forward to crisp cold walks and open cosy fires, and generally enjoying the winter season instead of dreading it.

You can phone on 087 7097477 or email at midwestcounselling@gmail.com

The Grieving Process

Grieving Process

First every step of the process is natural and healthy, it is only when a person gets stuck in one step for a long period of time then the grieving can become unhealthy, destructive and even dangerous. When going through the grieving process it is not the same for everyone, but everyone does have a common goal, acceptance of the loss and to always keep moving forward. This process is different for every person but can be understood in four different steps.

Shock and Denial

Shock is the initial reaction to loss. Shock is the person’s emotional protection from being too suddenly overwhelmed by the loss. The person may not yet be willing or able to believe what his mind knows to be true. This stage normally lasts 2 – 3 months.

Intense Concern

Intense concern is often shown by not being able to think of anything else. Even during daily tasks, thoughts of the loss keep coming to mind. Conversations with one at this stage always turn to the loss as well. This period may last 6 months to 1 year.

Despair and Depression

Despair and depression is a long period of grief and the most painful and protracted stage for the griever. But during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the loss. The process typically involves a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Many behaviors may be irrational. Depression can include feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, and anxiety.

Recovery

The goal of grieving is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. In this stage, one shows a new interest in daily activities and begins to function normally on a day to day basis. The goal is to reorganize one’s life so that the loss is one important part of life rather than the center of one’s life

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