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Recovering from the loss of a loved one

Regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), certain emotions come into play when someone dies.

On one extreme, you have the people who go to the funeral just to make sure that the jerk is dead. This was addressed by noted philosopher Marilyn Manson in his song “Four Rusted Horses.” A real-life situation was described by Sweetpea, author of The Good Funeral Guide:

I went to visit a family a while ago, and the son’s opening words to me were ‘well, you might as well know the only reason we’re going to the funeral is to make sure that the old bastard’s dead.’ As I worked with the family over the next week or so, I could see he might have a point. Their stated aim when I first met them was to pour their father’s ashes down the nearest drain. I’m no magician. We talked. They were given a safe space to express themselves. We fashioned a ceremony which even managed to acknowledge the one or two kinder moments that any of them could remember. I hope that in 10, 20 years time, when they re-read the ceremony, they at least won’t be ashamed of what was enacted. And possibly could even be proud of what they did.

One the other extreme, there are cases where people never recover from the loss of a loved one. Take the story of twins Joan and Patricia Miller; as I write this, investigators are theorizing that one of the twins died, and the other twin couldn’t cope with the death and died also.

For most of us, however, we eventually recover from the loss of a loved one. But there’s no magic formula that says “you will recover from the loss of a loved one in x days/months/years.” A thread in the (so-called) HealthExpertAdvice.org contains some thoughts on the topic. Firespider:

The method of death can sometimes make the event even more tragic or traumatizing. If you lose a baby, it is much more tragic for you than if you lose your grandmother that is 95. You grandmother’s death would be seen as a sad but natural event, while the baby’s death would be considered unnatural and inconsolably tragic.


I lost some very special people(3)in a short space of time and found that the old adage that time does heal ,plus lots of TLC from friends and a good grief [counselor].

Holly M:

It really depends on factors of emotions before [death], emotions soon after death and even farther after the death….

It also depends on how much [their] life [affected] your every day [routine], seeing that without them you will have to [completely] chnage your [routine], which can bring even stronger emotions.

At the end of the day, each person has a different reaction to the death of a loved one. Time may not necessarily heal all wounds, but you have to allow time for the grieving to occur.

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