A Case study: Grief and loss

This article reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated.

Mr Tan was brought to see a Counsellor, by one of his concerned colleges who had noticed him being different, these days.

Mr Tan used to be chirpy, well groomed and was ‘always available to help" type.

Mr Tan has four children who are all schooling and his wife, who battled cancer for three years, passed away about a year ago.  

Mr Tan told his friends that he is -

  1. Unable to sleep at night

  2. Feels lethargic throughout the day

  3. Does not feel like talking to anyone and remains isolated

  4. Has no interest in anything in particular

  5. Wishes is always anxious about the children and wishes that someone could run the family, on his behalf

Insights: A trained counsellor will be able to see that Mr Tan is overwhelmed with ‘grief and loss' issues, following his wife's demise. After speaking to Mr Tan, it became clear that as he was entrusted with the responsibility of running the household and caring for his four children, Mr Tan had no opportunity to go through the different stages that constitute the grief journey.  As such, it is important that Mr Tan works with a counsellor to accept reality, embrace the loss of his beloved, and start to redefine his life once again.

Hema Gurnani