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Dear Melanie,

It may seem to you that no one is concerned enough to respond to your post in our “Loss of a Parent” forum, and you may then conclude that you must deal with your grief all by yourself – but I can assure you that is not the case.

One of the benefits of our Grief and Loss Discussion Groups site is that it offers visitors like yourself a safe place to put your feelings. Like a journal, it's always there, 24 hours a day, free of charge and ready to "listen" without judgment or reproach. Unfortunately, however, the forums are set up in such a way that whenever a new topic is started by someone, the other messages already posted can get “lost,” unless our visitors are savvy enough to go deeper into a given forum to find them.

On the “Loss of a Parent” page that lists the titles of all topics in that forum, for example, I do note that your original message has been viewed by others at least 50 times. If you scroll down the list, you will see that yours is not the only message that has been left unanswered – but that does not mean that no one cares enough to post a response to every single message. Sometimes just reading through all the other postings is enough to provide the emotional support and inspiration someone may need. When I respond to a posting myself, it's usually because I see an opportunity to inform all our readers of something about grief that's not been addressed elsewhere on the board or on the pages of my Grief Healing Web site – but even then, there is no guarantee that every visitor will find and read what I have written.

There is so much going on in your life that is complicating the grief you feel at losing both your parents, Melanie. You say that you’re feeling despondent, frightened, depressed, hopeless about the future, isolated and alone. Even if you “cannot afford therapy,” I hope that as a gift you can give yourself, you will look for other sources of help that may be offered at no cost.

Most communities nowadays have bereavement support groups sponsored by local hospices, mortuaries, churches or synagogues. Call your telephone operator or public library and ask for the numbers for your local mental health association or your local suicide prevention center. Either agency will have good grief referral lists. As I’ve said elsewhere on this board, you need not be suicidal to get a grief referral from a suicide prevention center.

Use the Yellow Pages and call whatever hospitals and hospices are near you – or go to http://nhpco.org/custom/directory/main.cfm where you can search for bereavement services in your area. Call and ask to speak with the Bereavement Coordinator, Social Worker, or Chaplain's Office to get a local grief referral. Many hospitals and hospices provide individual and family grief support to clients for up to one year following a death, and offer bereavement support groups to the general public at no cost. Grief is such hard work, and you ought not to be trying to do it all alone.

I also suggest you spend some time doing a little reading about what normal grief looks like, so you'll have a better understanding of what you're going through and what to expect – it also may reassure you that what you're experiencing is quite normal under the circumstances. You might consider visiting and spending some time exploring my Grief Healing Web site, at http://www.griefhealing.com. It is my sincere hope that you will find some useful information as well as some comfort there.

Please know that you are in my thoughts, Melanie. I wish you all the best, and when you feel ready to do so, I hope that you will let us know how you're doing.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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