Another Layer of Grief

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A grieving man described the sadness he experienced due to the behavior of some family members after his wife’s death. “My adult step-children asked me about our wills before the day of her funeral had ended. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could they be so insensitive on this of all … [Read more...]

The Business of Loss

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A bereaved spouse recently described feeling overwhelmed by the amount of business she needed to manage after her husband’s death. “I am overwhelmed by paperwork. I am trying to deal with probate, close accounts, pay all of the medical bills, get the utilities transferred to my name and a dozen … [Read more...]

The Shadow of Suicide

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The recent reports of well-known celebrities dying from suicide have brought this topic to our national attention. The statistics are stunning – 43,000 suicide deaths in 2016 make it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and in the 15-34 age group, the second leading cause of death. These … [Read more...]

A Broken Heart

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“My heart is broken” is a lament often spoken by those who mourn. While that description is poetic, rather than literal, what is the physical impact on the heart and the rest of the body when a loss occurs? The day after the funeral and burial of former First Lady Barbara Bush, her husband was … [Read more...]

No Words

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A bereaved father whose daughter died in a car accident described an experience to me that frightened him. “It was a surge of feelings that started in my feet and traveled through my whole body and came out in a primal sound that did not seem like my voice,” he said. Anthropologist Renato … [Read more...]

Continuing Bonds

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In a bereaved parents’ meeting, I recently spoke about the desire many parents have to continue the emotional bond with their children who have died. The signs of relief were audible. “I am tired of the pressure to ‘get over’ the death of my daughter,” one mother said. “I will love her and feel … [Read more...]

A Cookie on Christmas Day

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“May we do something from my culture today?” our Japanese daughter-in-law asked us last Christmas day. “On holidays, we take food to the cemetery and leave it on the graves of our relatives.” And so we did. We loaded up the cars and drove to the cemetery where several of our family members are … [Read more...]

Both And

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I hear confusion from those who grieve in this holiday season because they experience conflicting emotions. The collision between the expectations of holiday happiness and the personal reality of grief can create confusion. “My feelings go back and forth from the sadness I feel from my loss this … [Read more...]

Disenfranchised Grief

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“I am so embarrassed,” a client said recently. “My dog died, and I called into work sick for three days. I know so many people who have had real tragedies in their life, and I can’t get it together to get to work because my dog died. I really feel like something must be wrong with me.” Losses … [Read more...]

What Was Big Is Now Small

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A bereaved father recently shared this story with me: “I had to walk out of a work meeting the other day. It was my first week back to work after my daughter’s death, and I found myself completely impatient with my team. The topics were so trivial, and they were so worked up as they talked. At first … [Read more...]