The empty chair at holiday dinners can cause enormous pain. Whether it’s your first, 10th or 50th year without your loved one, holidays can be sad reminders of those one has lost.
If you are tired of temporary pain relief and want to expand your life and relationships, you can learn to finish unfinished emotional business and move beyond loss, according to Jeff Zhorne, certified grief specialist with The Grief Program, which is hosting a free community presentation on the skills needed for working through loss Thursday evening. With the correct tools you can cherish fond memories of our loved ones, and sad memories won’t hurt you anymore, according to Zhorne.
“As a society we are not trained or prepared to deal with life’s most predictable event and that is loss,” said Zhorne.
“This buried pain is very real, has energy and doesn’t go away on its own,” Zhorne said, adding unresolved grief affects people negatively, sooner or later. “It will make itself known when you least expect it.”
Zhorne said most people realize the need to resolve past loss issues and finish unfinished emotional business. “But you rarely hear how to actually do that,” he said. “How do we move out of fear and isolation? How do we end the pain?”
After the deaths of his two children in a tragic auto crash, Zhorne said he found himself stuck in wishing things had been different and regretting not spending more time with them. The pain, isolation and loneliness were unbearable.
After much education and training, and by sheer providence, Zhorne says he made some incredible discoveries about himself and the process of emotional healing. The result is The Grief Program. Its mission: to help hurting people complete relationships that have ended or changed because of death or divorce.
“I had gotten to the point that I didn’t want to be reminded of my children anymore, but I didn’t have that choice,” he said. “Grief recovery provided a way of finishing what was so I could begin to live with what is.”
The more completion work he did, the fewer things were left unfinished, and the more he began to cherish fond memories of his children, Jeremy and Amelia. “They both left a legacy of love, not pain. I started to remember them for the way they lived, not the way they died,” he said.
Zhorne said recovery starts by being able to freely express all the thoughts and emotions connected with loss. Maybe it’s regret, or grieving the loss of unrealized hopes and broken dreams. Whether your loss is from death, divorce, breakup, loss of trust, loss of career, loss of health or other meaningful emotional loss, recovery is finding new meaning for life, he said.
The Grief Program’s free community presentation on the skills needed for working through loss is scheduled 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Best Western Valencia, Valencia Room, 27513 Wayne Mills Place. For information, call 661-733-0692.