The compassionate part of grief

Published on February 26, 2020

Grief and Loss

When Zoie lost her mom, she felt a deep void inside of her.  She struggled to get out of bed in the morning.  Her mother had been the one that she could always turn, too, when she was fighting or stressed.  She couldn’t imagine holidays and significant events without her.  At work, she felt confused, and her brain seemed to be working slower than usual.  What was the point anyway?  She was struggling to find meaning in life.

Zoie’s husband tried to comfort her, but he wasn’t sure what to say or what to do.  It seemed that while Zoie was grieving, he couldn’t get anything right.  This led to more conflict.  The arguments sent Zoie into more profound emptiness.

Upon reflection, Zoie realised that she was pushing people away because she was afraid that if she lost another person, she wouldn’t be able to handle it.  This fear of connection and vulnerability left her feeling lonelier than ever.  She remembered that the thing she loved most about her mother was her mother’s high empathy, warmth and compassion.  Zoie never had the chance to tell her mother how much she appreciated her.  She desperately hoped that her mother knew that she loved her.

From that day forward, Zoie decided that she would tell her loved ones how much they meant to her.  She knew that she could not leave others wondering if she valued them.  She began to resolve her conflicts in a way that was respectful and empathetic.  Whenever she said goodbye to someone she cared for, she wanted to make sure that they parted on good terms.  Her mother’s sudden death had taught her that you never know when it will be the last time that you will see someone.  This new awareness was both scary and beautiful.  She began to appreciate kind gestures more; she noticed when people offered small gifts of kindness such as opening the door, saying hello, and when people smiled at her.  The world seemed to be a gentler place than she had once realised.


When tragedy strikes, we might view the world as cruel.  If we look a little closer, we can see that behind every cruelty is a sea of compassion.  People feel good when they help others; there are more people out there that want to help you rather than hurt you.  The human connection enables us to feel seen, heard and wanted.  When we lose that connection, we ache deep into our souls, and we yearn for that person back.  We can take that deep connection and apply it to others in life, our relationships thrive, and we find purpose again.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help, most people will need some guidance or support in their life. To make an appointment with me please contact +852 2521 4668 or email

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash

Category(s):Depression, Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Grief, Loss, Bereavement, Relationships & Marriage

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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