Amélie Zeimet, a psychologist who practices in Luxembourg-Merl, in a portrait taken for Delano magazine
Photo: Mike Zenari
Loss of a loved one is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process. For those living abroad, grief can be a particularly difficult experience often manifesting into a sense of shame and guilt for being so far away.
“There is no right or wrong way to grieve,” says Amélie Zeimet. She is a psychologist who practices in Merl. “Grief is experienced differently by everyone and linear models of a lived experience will never encompass the complexity of life.”
Individuals find many different approaches to cope with grief such as yoga, meditation, religion and journaling. However, for individuals who are struggling for any manner of reasons, grief counselling can be a useful tool, especially if feelings of emptiness and despair become constant and lead to depression.
Whilst Luxembourg’s main health insurer, the Caisse Nationale de Santé, covers the cost of psychiatrist visits, it does not cover psychologists or psychotherapists. However, a new law has been proposed to change this (at press time, the Chamber of Deputies had not set a date to debate and vote on the bill).
Grief counselling does not focus on feeling better fast, but rather allowing the bereaved to express the difficult emotions that arise within their own time. Trauerwee is a Luxembourg non-profit organisation that focuses specifically on children and teenagers in grief. “Our role is to open a door to the adolescent in grief,” states Simone Thill. “We reach out a hand and walk part of the journey with them; we do not show them the way.”
At Trauerwee, children meet in groups and, depending on their age, express themselves through paintings, music, nature or by playing games. “When a close relative dies in a family, children often see their parents crying or depressed and they hide their grief so not to cause further upset,” she explains. “In a group situation, with other children, they feel safe and more able to communicate.”
Dr. Zeimet agrees: “Grief counselling offers a safe place where frustration, anxiety, anger and sadness can be shown and felt. It provides support and aims to help the individual feel not only more empowered but also to find a sense of serenity and meaning.”
Unfortunately, in today’s society we often view the emotional discomfort of grief as a weakness and try to hide from it. For Jane Duncan Rogers, author of “Gifted by Grief”, this approach is counter-productive. “Let your emotions flow, no matter what they are,” she advises. “Open the door, even though you realise it will be painful. Yes, you will receive the rawness of the emotion, but you will have received it well.”
“Practice compassion for yourself,” adds Zeimet, “and if you are feeling isolated, visit your general practitioner or see a counsellor, help is available.”
When it comes to grief, there are no time frames, rights or wrongs, prescriptions or magical cures, expert says. Grief is as unique as each individual. Listen to your own grief and trust it.