Supporting Significant Life Events
Sue and Tom lost their 10 year old daughter Jill to leukaemia approximately one year ago. Jill remained admitted in the hospital initially for few weeks and later on kept on visiting the hospital off and on for follow up. Her last stay in the hospital before her death lasted for two weeks when she was in critical condition. All the health professionals involved in the treatment were very caring and supportive to Jill and her parents. When Jill died one of the nurse involved in her treatment visibly appeared extremely stressed and emotional and could not come to work for few days.
Tom and Sue received support from an organisation, Shaping the Bereavement, and the Bereavement Partner Support Group during the initial phase of their bereavement. When Sue did not come to term even after one year, her husband Tom suggested her to attend Professional Counselling because she still doesn’t seem to be able to cope with everyday living. Tom feels that she should be more advanced in her recovery because he himself is coping much better and ‘getting on with life’. Sue is dwelling on guilt prone thoughts such as “Why her, she was so young, I’m still alive”, “I didn’t tell her I loved her before she died” and “What did I do wrong”.
Sue and Tom have a son David who is 12 and are currently divided on parenting styles, whereas before the death they were fairly similar in their approach. Tom feels that David should be able to do what he wants. He feels that life can be short and therefore doesn’t want to be restrictive. Tom feels that Sue is being over protective whereas Sue feels that she has already lost one child and doesn’t want to lose another. She feels that she couldn’t protect Jill and is now doing everything she can to protect David.
Jill was diagnosed with leukaemia only six months before she passed away. Sue was working part-time but gave up work to be with Jill during her treatment despite that the organisation she was working with, offered her leave for 4 weeks without pay. Her line manager also assured her of giving flexible working hours after the leave but Sue did not return to work as she wanted to spend all her time with Jill. Before the illness of her daughter she was working and also doing all the housework but now Sue can’t “even” (her words) get the housework done.
Professional counsellor discussed the length of time (6 months) that Sue had to come to terms with her impending loss before the loss actually occurred. Sue felt more relieved by discovering that it can be normal for someone to become stuck in a stage when they have little time to come to terms with a death beforehand.At the end of this session Sue left with an affirmation that she had constructed with the assistance of Counsellor about the normality of her current Grief and Loss behaviour. Once Sue and Tom resolved the issue of Parenting David, there was no further need for counselling. It is important to note that Sue has not finished the grieving process but now has more skills and resources to deal with the final stages without.
Analyse possible group responses to significant life events that occur to one of its members