Grief, Farewells and New Beginnings


What remains is love.

Goodbyes are among the hardest times in life, yet none of us is spared them. Some are easier, others more painful. So painful that one might feel unable to survive them. Yet one doesn´t always notice the pain straight away. It is often only felt much later, when others – friends and family – may long have stopped anticipating it. What follows is isolation and occasionally even the desire to end it all.

Unfortunately, Germany and Europe offer few rituals in support of those taking farewell to frame their process, mark it off, structure it. It is for this reason that my work with grieving people includes the development of individual rituals of farewell. The aim of my work is also to find a new role for the deceased (or otherwise absent) person in the life of those grieving. The aim is decidedly not to forget them, to “leave things behind” or to “move on”.

My personal experience with goodbyes and loss and my encounters with dying people and their relatives at the hospice provide me with a special perspective on loss and grief. As systemic therapist, I am particularly interested in these topics and have noticed time and again: grief over losses and goodbyes takes a different shape with each individual. Therefore, one ought to meet it with new eyes each and every time.