Did you know there are 40 different kinds of loss?
When we hear the word "grief" most of us think it relates to the loss of a loved one. But that is just one of the causes for humans to grieve points out Anne Keeton, owner of Grief to Relief a grief recovery program. "It could be the loss of a pet, a job, a home or retirement, any kind of loss," she explains.
"Anything that causes conflicting feelings," says Keeton, "even positive events such as marriage."
The conflict, she says, arrises out of the knowing that, in the case of marriage, "our familiar patterns or behavior will change" leading to a feeling of grief or loss in what is familiar to us.
Helping to overcome those feelings is where Keeton comes in. "Grief recovery is a skill set we haven't learned," she points out. Her classes teach us how to recover from grief.
Doing nothing is not an option for recovering from grief, points out Keeton who uses a flat tire as an analogy. If you have a flat tire, you have to act. Sitting along side the road and doing nothing will not fix the tire. It's the same with grief. It's necessary to act so you can recover.
"There are a number of myths about how to get over our grief," says Keeton, "but they are nothing more than distractions. Many of us have heard the familiar advice, don't feel bad, grieve alone, give it time, be strong for others, keep busy - but it doesn't heal the grief."
Through her classes Keeton guides her clients through a step-by-step process to learn how to recover. The 10-week program is offered on a one-on-one basis or in group sessions.
"Through the sessions you learn how to feel better by claiming your circumstances, finding new meaning for living and understanding that it's OK to feel sad," she says.
The program focuses on learning to recover from grief. But it's a set of skills that we should learn before we need them, she advises. "We shouldn't wait for a crisis to learn this skill set. You wouldn't wait to learn CPR until you needed it, would you."
Keeton, who lives in Peachtree Corners has worked as a life coach since 2004, wanted to do more to help people when she discovered the "Grief to Relief" program. "I feel very called and compelled to do this work. Everything about the program spoke to me," said Keeton, 45.
She became certified in the Grief to Relief program in 2011 which she explains is a psycho-educational program. "It's not therapy," she points out. "It's not a support group, it's not therapy and it's not a drop-in program."
"No one is immune from grief," says Keeton, who has experienced job loss and the death of a close friend all within a few months of each other. "Life is about loss. I want to get the word out - you don't have to suffer, you don't have to cope."
The Grief to Relief office is located at 3736 Holcomb Bridge Road in Peachtree Corners. Appointments are required, no drop-in service is available. Keeton has a new class forming that will begin meeting on Tuesday. Oct. 23. For more information visit the website or contact Keeton by email or by phone, 678-653-5513.