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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Grief Relief with Jennica: Everything You Wanted to Know About Grief, But Were Afraid to Ask

Jul 31, 2022 09:00AM ● By Suzie Agrillo
Are you suffering from a broken heart? Coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. However, our society doesn’t necessarily equip us with the tools we need to deal with loss. Most of us have learned how to process grief from our parents, our religion and our culture. But the way that we were taught may have been incorrect, so it may not help us cope with our grief.
The pain of loss can feel overwhelming. One may experience emotions ranging from shock and anger to disbelief, guilt and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt our physical health and affect our cognitive abilities. This might include difficulty eating, sleeping and making decisions.
It is important not to feel ashamed about how you feel, or to believe that it’s inappropriate to grieve. The amount of time it takes to grieve can depend on the significance of the person or life event.
Jennica Klemann is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist who provides a safe environment where clients are given specific tools to help them recover from loss. Utilizing the Grief Recovery Method, an evidence-based process, she enables individuals to conquer their grief and to ultimately lead happier lives.

Q & A with Jennica Klemann

What was the impetus for you to start your grief recovery practice?
I’ve been a massage therapist for 24 years. When my grandfather died, I actively grieved him for 17 years, during which I couldn’t talk about him without crying. As a massage therapist, grief was also painful for me personally. I was working with a lot of retirees who were experiencing loss. I framed a massage as a “grief massage” for them, to allow them to spend time with themselves and to sense their inner feelings. Massage calms the nervous system and relieves the physical and emotional components of pain.
Having created this massage, it felt sacred, and it became a privilege to care for people in a vulnerable part of their lives. When I opened my own business in 2011, I networked with Bobbie Rill, who is located at the Grief and Wellness Group. She encouraged me to go through their eight-week group sessions. That was my first experience with the grief recovery process, which included reading and writing assignments.
The class was life-changing for me. It was the first time I was given permission to let go—to hang on to positive memories and remember my grandfather fondly without pain. I still miss him, and grieve his loss, but I don’t have to be emotional, sad or heartbroken anymore. I have healthier coping skills, and a more positive outlook on life. In 2019, I was certified as a grief coach myself. In 2020, I received advanced certification, which allows me to work with people online to broaden my accessibility.

What are some of the most significant losses we experience in a lifetime?
The most significant loss is the death of a loved one—but any loss can cause grief, including divorce or loss of a relationship, loss of health, losing a job, miscarriage, empty nesting, retirement, death of a pet, infertility, selling the family home and many more.

What is grief?
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or change of any kind.

What is the difference between grief and mourning?
Mourning is the act of expressing grief. Grief is how you feel.

What are the myths about grief?
Myth: Don’t feel bad.
Fact: When you are grieving, it’s normal to feel bad…and lots of other emotions. Feeling bad when you’re sad is normal.

Myth: Grieve alone.
Fact: Isolation is common after a loss. Seek support from friends, family and/or support groups.

Myth: Give it time.
Fact: There is no specific time period for grieving.

Myth: Stay busy.
Fact: Keeping busy doing things is a distraction, but it doesn’t make you feel better.

Myth: Replace the loss.
Fact: Replacing the loss may not repair your heartbreak. You need to deal with the pain.

Myth: Be strong.
Fact: It’s normal to cry or feel emotional. Showing your feelings helps you to heal.

How can a person grieve productively?
Recognizing your coping behaviors, especially extreme behaviors, like sleeping too much or not at all. Express your feelings rather than hide them. Eat well and avoid excessive drug and alcohol use. Journal about your loss. Don’t isolate yourself. Make healthier choices. Be cognizant that love does not equal pain. You don’t have to be in pain to honor someone. If your feelings don’t resolve, seek professional help.
Consider the therapeutic modality of grief massage because grief causes chemical changes in your body. It can cause an increase in adrenaline and cortisol, and a reduction of serotonin and dopamine. Massage has been proven to lower adrenaline and cortisol, and it increases dopamine and serotonin by 28 to 31 percent. We use a special blend of citrus forward essential oils specifically selected for elevating the mood and decreasing depression and anxiety.

How does a person overcome the guilt which sometimes is concomitant with death?
That’s one of the things we work with in my support groups, which involves apologizing and forgiveness. We talk about 1 percent responsibility, because you can only change how you feel about yourself, you can’t change the past. Guilt is what you feel when you’ve done something wrong. With the grief work, it’s regret versus something you did wrong.
We put the things you regret in writing and read them aloud in front of a safe person, free from judgment and criticism. The work ends with a completion letter where you express everything you didn’t say and end it with a goodbye.

We’ve all heard the adage “laughter is the best medicine”. How can laughter help us?
A release of endorphins counters the stress hormones.

Is there anything else you want to say about grief?
The important thing is recognizing you have a problem and that not all problems can be solved alone. Sometimes you need help to navigate through the emotions in a way that’s tolerable and encourages the healing response. You don’t have to do it alone.

Death is a part of life, and it can even give meaning to our existence. While grieving loss is inevitable, there are ways to help cope with your pain, to come to terms with your grief and to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.
Time alone will not heal your broken heart. If you need professional help with your grief, you don’t have to wait any longer. Klemann is intuitive, caring and she enjoys helping people with an open heart.

Connect with Jennica Klemann at 520-850-8151 or See ad, page 19.

Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer in Tucson and is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on writing about the arts, inspirational people and the human connection. Connect at [email protected].

Grief Relief with Jennica - 6812 N Oracle Rd 100 Tucson AZ

Grief Relief with Jennica - 6812 N Oracle Rd 100, Tucson, AZ

Jennica Klemann is an Advanced Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Arizona Licensed Massage Therapist. She specializes in a variety of losses including death, divorce, loss of health,... Read More »