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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I don't believe that we ever "get over" the loss of a loved one. I realize that this is contrary to the collective view of old-school griefwork experts, who maintained that resolution of mourning culminates in letting the loved one go. This strikes me as contrary to all that I know about mourning from my own personal losses and from observing how my therapy clients have faced the deaths of loved ones.

It is the belief that death has severed all connection with the loved one that perpetuates grief, it seems to me. I realized long ago that death need not sever the relationship with loved ones who have died. Death means the end of an embodied existence; that's all I know. My dear relatives, friends and father live on in my memory and in my heart. I still have access to each one of them if I so choose. There have been times when I have asked for my father's support; have I received it? I don't know and it matters less than that I felt I could reach out to him. Am I simply perpetuating an illusion to protect me from feeling the depth of sorrow in the face of his death? I don't think so. I mourned my father's death at the time and still feel sad when I think of him, which is nearly every day. But, I don't believe I am in denial that he is gone.

One of my dear friends knows with absolute conviction that there is life after death, so she has no fear of dying at all. Her fear is with living... given all the violence, crime, misery and suffering that abounds in the world. Since I am more uncertain about what happens after death, fear still arises when I think about my own mortality. I have not bridged this gap, which is okay with me. We shall see.

a morning so still
I can almost hear
the clouds move

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