Listen, Learn, and Love - 3 Keys to Harmony

Dr. Joan's Advice

Date: 02/28/2014

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Absorbing the Pain of Grief

Dear Drowning in Grief:

Oh, dear one, my heart is with you. The sudden loss of your fine husband has wrenched your normal equilibrium. You say you feel as though you’re in a roiling whirlpool and can’t swim out to dry land.

Here are three basic thoughts which might help. Please try them.

THOUGHT ONE: I AM ALLOWED TO FEEL THE PAIN. During the many years you and your husband shared a life, you reared children, kept a home, made friends, worked, wept, and loved. Now, without warning, with no inkling that he would leave you, he is physically gone. You are in pain: waves, swirls, and torrents of it. Acknowledge your struggles as legitimate emotions, embrace them, and slowly absorb them. You must feel the pain in order to gradually adjust to the radical change in your circumstances.

THOUGHT TWO: I CAN MAKE DECISIONS. One of the most difficult tasks for the bereaved is making choices about what to do next. Just know that you are capable within yourself of making any decision you need to make. Prove it to yourself. Be aware each time you make a choice, even as seemingly simple as choosing to take a walk. Praise yourself for each decision. Of course, you may seek advice for large decisions like moving to another location or changing your financial strategy. But remember, you are capable within yourself to evaluate all choices.

THOUGHT THREE: I AM NEEDED BY OTHERS. You gave your love to your partner of many years and suddenly he’s gone. Now what do you do with the love you gave him? Look around. There are others who need your friendship and caring. If you have no immediate family, search your friends and see who could use some attention and perhaps your help. If you need to widen your circle, go to the nearest daycare or school and volunteer. Children always need a friend and they give so much in return. You are needed.

Dear friend, please look at the resource written by Susan Wheeler-Roy, EdD, and Bernard A. Amyot, MS, MA, published by the NY State Office of Mental Health. You’ll be glad you did.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: My heavy heart weeps that you are gone from my arms. My yearning heart remembers our sharing. My grateful heart gives thanks for having loved you.

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