Grief encountered by survivors of domestic violence, abuse, and/or sexual assault is a complex array of experiences stemming from loss, shame, guilt, sorrow, and more. Often, holidays punctuate grief, bringing to the surface confusing emotions that can seem inescapable. At Genesis Women's Shelter & Support we persist in our belief that for survivors there is hope and there is help and both can lead to healing. To facilitate the healing of grief related to trauma from domestic violence, abuse, and/or sexual assault, as well as to support survivors throughout the holiday season, we offer these episodes of exploring grief through the lens of understanding our relationship with it and with the self.
So what are grief and grieving? What do they feel like? Will my grief ever end? We address these questions with thought leader and author Edy Nathan who suggests - grief mourns what was. Ms. Nathan addresses survivors with compassion and warmth, using rich visual images for the exploration of this challenging experience - in Edy Nathan's work we find the self as a mosaic or a chameleon, and our grief-related emotions as a cave worthy of our exploration, or a dance we are just learning the steps to. Throughout these conversations we navigate the phases of grief using tangible, realistic experiences as well as contemplative metaphors that give us space to breathe into the dance with grief, pacing our experience lest we miss the opportunity to witness our own transformation.
Edy Nathan introduces new terms and context to the conversation about survivor grief. She uses the term "survivalist" often and to lend a deeper meaning to who the survivor is and how she evolves. To Nathan, who is herself a survivor, the survivalist is "someone who has survived under the worst conditions and has come out alive enough to speak about the experience and live beyond the bonds of fear, pain, and memories. The survivalist develops self-reliance, resilience, and higher levels of self-esteem."
These conversations are our humble gift to you this holiday season. Through these episodes, we extend a hand to you in support as well as the opportunity to take time for yourself to breathe and find space to consider your own relationship with any grief you are feeling. As you listen you can learn along with us about the Eleven Phases of Grief and practice a few exercises contained within Part 2 of these episodes to help restore yourself. As you do you might find new ways to embrace your own journey with grief knowing that you are worth fighting for.
Support for survivors of domestic violence is available 24/7 by call or text: 214-946-HELP (4357) or at genesisshelter.org
Edy Nathan is a Certified Sex Therapist and thought leader specializing in grief, trauma, and sexuality. She works with businesses, universities, and long-term care homes to help people understand how these areas filter through their lives and affect everything from creativity to productivity. Working together with entities and individuals, she offers creative ways to deal with grief, trauma, and sexuality. Ms. Nathan is the author of “It’s Grief: The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss” and the upcoming new release, "Sexual Grief." She holds master’s degrees from New York University and Fordham University and a sex therapist certification from the University of Michigan.