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My own story about deep grief and profound healing.

It feels like I’ve got two lives, the one before getting married in September 2005 and one after. My first life included working and studying abroad and starting a career in the hotel business based in Stockholm, Sweden.

IMG_5696My first major loss took place in September 2001, when my father passed away after a long battle with cancer. I felt so lost and disoriented without him, and it took me more than two years to get back to a reasonable state of health again. That is when I was introduced to the Greif Recovery Method for the first time, and I ended up buying the book. I’m sure I read it, but I didn’t have the energy to work though the method on my own. Nor did I have the courage to find myself a partner to work with, so the book ended up in my bookshelf.

In 2005 I got married and left Stockholm to join my Swedish husband in Zurich. As I had lived abroad before I didn’t think it was that dramatic, but this time it was for an unlimited time I moved away form my friends and family. Our first daughter Ingrid was born in September 2006, one day after our first wedding anniversary, and we fell in love with her immediately. All of a sudden we are responsible for this little human being, for life!

As we went for Ingrid’s 2-month check up the doctor was concerned about her lack of leg movement, so she sent us off to the Children’s Hospital here in Zurich for further tests. On the 16th of December 2006 we got the diagnosis, Spinal Muscle Atrophy type 1, a very rare genetic disease with a life expectancy of approximately eight months. Our hearts smashes to tiny little pieces and our lives would never be the same again. There is no way you can prepare yourself for a moment like that, to hear that your 3 month old baby has got a terminal illness and is going to die. I just wanted to scream and never stop screaming!

ängel Ingrid och mammaWe had our first battle with SMA already two weeks after getting the diagnosis, when Ingrid caught a bad cold and one of her lungs collapsed. She fought death off that time, as she would on several occasions after that.

We had the most amazing care team from Kinderspitex in Zurich, which gave us the chance to care for Ingrid at home. To be able to live life as normal as possible in the comfort of our own home was such a big help for us. I’m convinced that it prolonged Ingrid’s life and definitely ensured the optimal quality of life as a family. Ingrid passed away peacefully at home in May of 2007, almost 8 months old.

After we had lost Ingrid it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but after she was gone and all the medical equipment had been collected we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organizing the funeral, order a tombstone and arrange all documents to be able to fly back to Sweden with an urn. Having to deal with all of this while in a state of chock and grief was daunting, and I have never felt so alone, isolated and lost in my whole life. There was no real list of support options presented to us, so on top of everything else I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

Immediately after Ingrid’s passing I signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital as well as with the palliative home care team (Kinderspitex) here in Zürich. At least I would be able to give other parents with SMA babies a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief for various reasons? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss and grief? How could I assist people living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, native language and familiarity?

That’s when the Grief Recovery Handbook mysteriously nudged itself out of its dusty existence in my bookshelf. I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist to be able to offer this support, not only to fellow SMA parents, but also to other people experiencing loss.

-214Today I work with my passion to help others getting unstuck from their unresolved grief, feel less alone and isolated and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that Ingrid taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between.

With love, Karin

 

It took me nine years to face my grief

scared as hellIt took me NINE years to reach that point of exhaustion where I just said to myself “I really, really, really need to get help to finally let go of the all the pain and drama in my life”. By that time I had lost my dad, moved abroad and lost my first born daughter (in that exact order).

What would happen if I finally took charge of my emotional system? What would need to change? Who or what would I have to let go of in my life? What patterns, behaviours and thoughts would I have to change? What would I have to start doing or who would I have to start being if I got well, finally felt unstuck, started to live my purpose, quit that awful, life draining job? Who would I have to become if I let go of all the drama that defines me?

That’s a lot of scary stuff… I know, that’s why I waited for so long. But I refused to define myself as the bereaved mother, stuck in pain, guilt and sadness forever and ever. There had to be another way!

Only you will know when you have reached that crucial point when changing how you define yourself and your pain and drama is the only sustainable thing you can do in order to move forward. Why don’t you grab the opportunity and start getting clear for the new year NOW by redefining how you want to show up in the world? How you want to feel? What you want to contribute to?

There are a million-and-one techniques out there, I’m teaching ONE of them, but I encourage you to go out and investigate which one rings true to you. Only you know whats best for you.

Can broken dreams cause grief?

Broken dreamsA lot of people react when I tell them what I work with, and most of them say “Luckily nothing terrible has happened to me yet.” or “I haven’t lost anyone close to me, but when I do I know who to call.” That’s all fine, of course, it’s not that I wish for anyone to have a traumatic experience so I can have something to do!

But what about the time you had a really bad break up with someone? Maybe that shattered not only your heart, but also the dream of you two being together, starting a family and growing old together?  Or what about the loss of a job, and hence loss of financial security and a dream of a career within that company or field? Or moving abroad (as we expats have done), not only being a big adventure, but also bringing with it the loss of familiarity, language, friends, and (often) the ability to be present at big life events such as weddings, christenings, funerals, or birthdays.

So in what way does the Grief Recovery Method® help you get rid of the pain and frustration that broken dreams brings with it? You might have been trying a number of different things to feel better again, but are tired of trying and “failing” yet another “self help” method. What could possibly be different with this Program?

For me, it’s been the simple fact that I got to take a good look at all my disappointments, losses and broken dreams in my life so far. I’ve looked at the myths I’ve been taught how to deal with loss, all the intellectual comments I’ve heard when in grief, and all the (often unconscious) behaviours I’ve been using in order to avoid facing my feelings triggered by a traumatic event (food, anger, frustration, TV…).

It’s like taking out the weeds by the roots instead of either ignoring them completely (yet knowing perfectly well that they are still there), or swearing about their presence but refusing to do anything about it!  For me, it was a clear and logical step-by-step action plan that finally quietened a majority of my extremely limiting “Why’s?”, “What if’s” and “If only’s”. I say majority, because the job never gets completely done. I would be lying if I said that you would be living happily ever after just by working through this Program.

But your you will have a brand new set of extremely helpful tools to help you handle major life events. You will have taken back the responsibility how you let those events affect you, and therefore you get to decide how to feel and what kind of support you need. I was so good at giving away the power over my own emotions to others, but now I ask myself this question when faced with a situation that triggers all these scary emotions: “To who or what do I give the power to control how I feel in this very moment, and why?”, and that is something I did not do before!

So if you want to know more about me, what the Grief Recovery Method® is, and if it is for you at all(!), please feel free to book a first meeting for FREE with me either in person or on Skype!

Karin Andersson Hagelin

Here you can read what others have said after finishing the Grief Recovery Outreach Program with me. 

 

Much Love, Karin

 

Big day tomorrow, 12th of March!

Tomorrow I’m starting the first Grief Recovery Group Outreach Program here in Zurich! I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen during the course. And yes, there is a last chance to sign up today if you feel intrigued to try it!

The things I’ve witnessed with my one-on-one clients so far has been absolutely amazing! I’ mean, I’m “just” the facilitator, it’s the clients who are doing the BIG job. To be able to watch that process of healing is simply awesome! Thank you all <3

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WHY I do what I do

There are so many ways to pitch your business… But what would happen if I started telling people WHY I’m really in the business I’m in, from the heart? 

That question struck me as I was thinking of sending yet another “sales pitch” mail to all the networks I’m in. Do I want to sound like the current “Newsletter trend” or do I want it to come from the heart? When is it actually OK to speak from the heart without following all the sales pitch rules and formats? Are people going to find me weird if I do?

There is only one way to find out I guess, and that’s putting it to the test!

So WHY I’m in this business of Grief Recovery?

When we lost our firstborn daughter it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but when she had left us and all the medical equipment had been collected we were standing there with an empty crib, diapers, baby clothes, toys and all the rest of it that comes along with a baby. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organising the funeral, tombstone, documents for flying back to Sweden with an urn, insurance, medical bills having to be clarified etc etc etc.

Having to deal with all of that while in a state of chock and grief was mind boggling. There was no real list of support options presented to us, and I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

I immediately signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital and the palliative home care team here in Zürich to at least give other parents with the same diagnosis a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss, living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, language and familiarity?

That’s when I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. I now work with my passion to help others getting unstuck, feel less alone in their grief and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that our daughter taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between. Like my coach Edson Williams said yesterday, “Karin flipped the script from a bereaved parent to using the loss as an inspiration to help others.” That really warmed my heart.

So that’s WHY I’m doing what I’m doing! I just can’t stand the fact that so many are stuck and limited by their unresolved grief, and if I can just help a handfull of these people it’s worth it! And I just have to trust that the people needing my help will find me, in one way or another. Have a great weekend and start of February!

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Almost Christmas

We are a few days from Christmas and this year there will be people missing around the Christmas table, maybe they have been gone for a long time or maybe they left during the year. Regardless if it is “the first Christmas without…” or if it is “yet another Christmas without…”, please know that time will not heal all wounds so don’t be surprised if the pain from a loss flares up again during the holidays.

IMG_2039For you who know of people that are missing loved ones, please acknowledge this by talking about the missing person, mention their name, let the family know that you care and dare to talk about the more difficult aspect of celebrating this holiday. People in grief have not forgotten about the departed one and will only appreciate that you are there to listen and to talk.

Have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year 2013! Much love, Karin

Grief Recovery: How does it work?

Hi all, today I would like to start with a quote from the book “the Grief Recovery Handbook” written by John W. James and Russell Friedman – also the same handbook I use when I work with clients:

“Recovery from loss is achieved by a series of small and correct choices made by the griever. “

So how do you go about taking these small steps?

During the 8-week one-on-one Outreach Program or the 12-week group Outreach Program I guide you through the Grief Recovery Handbook, making sure that we look at all the aspects of how you have been taught to deal with loss and grief. For example, time heals all wounds might be a myth that you have grown up with? Here is a picture:

If you broke your arm, would you then sit down and wait for it to heal by itself or would you go to the hospital to get it looked at and cared for properly? So why are we told to wait for time to heal our hearts when they got broken from a loss?

I lost my father in September 2001, just days after the 9/11 tragedy in USA. My world crashed and I wasn’t able to function properly for a long, long while. In 2003 I was introduced to the Grief Recovery Method, as the book was translated into Swedish by Anders Magnusson at the Swedish Grief Recovery Institute in Stockholm.

However, the steps in the book seemed overwhelming to do on my own. Also, I didn’t have to courage to ask someone to do it with me, so I left it, as you do…

It took me another nine years to actually sign up for the course myself, so trust me, I know how big the resistance is to do this work! It was a lot easier when I felt the support from the other people in the group to move forward and do the very important action steps. Without that help I wouldn’t have finished the Grief Recovery process.

I can also confidently tell you that when you decide to do the Grief Recovery Outreach Program, alone or guided by me in a group or one-on-one, you will be able to move on in life without dragging the old weight of unresolved grief and un-communicated feelings!

Drop me an e-mail or give me a call on +41 76 282 98 23 if you want to know more or have questions about how I can help you! Much love!