When there’s no blueprint: a therapist’s journey through grief and loss
by Sylvia Bodell with Robin Gulley-Crow, LCSW
As a therapist, Robin Gulley-Crow, LCSW, has been a licensed, professional expert on the topic of grief and loss for more than 25 years.
After the death of her 20-year-old son, grief and loss became very personal.
“My loss, the very personal loss of my son to suicide left me raw and in disbelief. It left me feeling gutted and at times paralyzed. Grief and loss have become my constant companions. There is nowhere I go that they are not,” Robin poignantly shared. “It changed the dynamics of my family…there was a visceral hole.”
“Grief and the accompanying sorrow is so uniquely personal,” she added. “It’s a journey we travel alone. There is no blueprint, no map. I remember being told, 'we grieve the way we live.' There was so much freedom in acknowledging that because we all live differently, we all grieve differently.
“Grieving people navigate a new world every day because they never know when the waves will crash or when we will lose our breath and have to remind ourselves to start breathing again. I have found freedom in allowing myself to listen to what I need in the moment. I’ve learned to trust the process.”
Two years after the loss of her son, Robin is taking what she has learned to continue helping others by providing counseling to those experiencing grief and loss at The Center.
Nothing can be wasted
“It took time for the doors to open and for things to align, but I know now that I’m called to be with people in the midst of their sorrow,” said Robin. “Nothing can be wasted. There’s a redemptive value in how God uses our pain to help others in theirs. I know that’s what I’m being asked to do. God will bring those He wants me to see.
"Therapy, the walking with people in pain and joy is such a humbling experience. I see the art of therapy as providing a container, a vessel for people when they can’t provide one for themselves. When reality is too hard, when feelings overwhelm us, when we don’t see a way forward, that’s when we need that safe place to hold us until we can find our way. With this newly added dimension to my life, I believe that I can hold people with greater empathy and compassion as I was held when I was unraveling and felt there was no bottom to the pit of anguish.
“Right in the middle of it, I know God is still God, He holds me with His mighty right hand and my son, one of the very best parts of me, is with Him.
“A lot of the work I have done and continue to do is self-awareness. I often reflect on Ephesians 5:14 ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ I want to continue to help people wake up, see the world and be aware of how they want to live their life. There are dark nights, but there is still joy in the day.”
We're here for you
If you or someone you know needs to talk about their grief, depression or anxiety, we're here for you and your family. Please call The Center to schedule an appointment with Robin or any of our other 35+ therapists at 214-526-4525. Counseling services at The Center are covered by most major insurance companies.
Let Yourself Grieve
People often get stuck on the first few stages of grief and are paralyzed because they don’t allow themselves to honor and learn from the inevitable flood of emotions.
While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain.
- Acknowledge your pain.
- Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
- Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
- Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
- Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
- Recognize the difference between grief and depression.