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To Chuck And Angellea

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Dear Ones,

Like everyone else who’s read your posts, I’m so very sorry to learn that you have lost your precious brothers, and I send each of you my heartfelt sympathy. Each of you describes so vividly the agony of losing a sibling to death, and my heart aches for both of you.

I am also saddened to read how pressured you both feel at this very early point in your grief journey. You both lost your loved ones so very recently, and already you’re both feeling judged by others that you’re not “doing” your grief properly or quickly enough! You feel chastised as “failures” in your bereavement, as if, in the words of Rabbi Earl Grollman, you are “underachievers who flunked a grief course.”

The fact is that when we are in the freshest throes of grief, we are deeply wounded: we are more vulnerable, more easily hurt, and more sensitive to the comments and behavior of others. In an ideal world, at times of grief we would be surrounded by those who deeply care, understand and accept the depth of our loss – but the world isn’t ideal, and we do have to deal with others, both at home and in the workplace.

I want to encourage both of you to continue to seek the support of those who do understand your experience and accept your feelings. Reach out to your spouses or partners, close friends, family or acquaintances, even strangers (such as those who visit these grief forums) who are willing to listen to your stories. And don’t let anyone else judge how well you are doing with your grief. Read this piece, taken from the Comfort for Grieving Hearts page of my Grief Healing Web site:

"If I were doing well with my grief,

I would be over in the corner

curled up in a fetal position crying,

not standing here acting like no one has died."

-- Doug Manning in The Gift of Significance: Walking People through a Loss

We are doing well with our grief when we are grieving.

Somehow we have it backwards.

We think people are doing well when they aren't crying.

Grief is a process of walking through some painful periods

toward learning to cope again.

We do not walk this path without pain and tears.

When we are in the most pain,

we are making the most progress.

When the pain is less,

we are coasting and resting up for the next steps.

People need to grieve.

Grief is not an enemy to be avoided;

it is a healing path to be walked.

-- from HOPE Line Newsletter, August 2002

Web site: www.hopeforbereaved.com

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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