They say time and tide wait for none. Neither does grief. At the age of 20, Tina* came to our centre stating that she felt very distant from her partner and was feeling very low. During the first session with our psychologist, she revealed that she had lost her grandmother, who she was very close to, a little over six months ago. She stated that ever since the death, she had been feeling ‘sad’ most of the time and didn’t feel like doing anything. She said that even after 6 months, she found it near to impossible to talk or even think about her grandmother as it made her too upset.

Once the therapy process started, our psychologist encouraged her to speak about the loss of her grandmother to see how she had dealt with the loss. Tina* then admitted that she avoided thinking or feeling anything related to her grandmother and she also said that she didn’t want to do that anymore and move on while being able to cherish her grandmother’s memories. From the next session onwards, Tina* worked on accepting that her grandmother was indeed gone and it wasn’t in her control. She was also reminded that it was okay to grieve and voice it out. They also explored the idea of both positive and negative changes and how she dealt with them. Tina was suggested to create a list of words that she felt she could associate her pain with and words like denial, anger, guilt, sorrow, confusion came up. Once Tina* felt validated and saw that it was okay to feel such different things, she saw that there were a wide range of methods of grieving and this helped her feel better and not alone. Their sessions really focused on naming the feelings felt to acknowledge them and move on.

Towards termination, Tina* found it difficult to let go of her grandmother and needed to be reminded that letting go of her grandmother did not necessarily mean she was forgetting her grandmother. Our psychologist helped her understand that Tina* could keep the memories of her grandmother alive and still move on and let go of the difficult emotions that followed. Our psychologist suggested ways she could do this. For example, one technique was to create a list of all her favorite memories of her grandmother and put it somewhere safe which couldn’t be forgotten as they were tangible. Tina* appreciated this idea since that was her biggest fear of letting go and found it much easier to let go.

(*name changed for anonymity)