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[This is a response to my post of 1/13/03. Sharlene sent this to me as a private email on 1/13/03. It is reproduced here with her kind permission. -- Robert Young, Webmaster]

a woman in grief How wise of you to think of this and bring it up. This is one of the issues that no one really prepares us for.

I have thought more about coping with the death of a loved one, and am remembering things I have done. One is to put out pictures so that I can still see the person. Another is remembering that working through grief is a process and to do that by acknowledging my feelings, allowing myself to feel them, and then reminding myself to move on without getting stuck in one particular phase. Prayers full of gratitude as well as pleas for comfort have been essential in healing. Still, there are those middle of the night feelings of despair, loneliness, and emptiness that maybe someone has some suggestions for coping with.

As you suggested, family and/or close friends will hopefully be helping, and religious beliefs can offer comfort. There are the external sources we hope to be able to turn to in a time of crisis. That is why we all need a social structure of support.

There are also the internal sources which many of us have not done much to develop. Those are our own coping skills. There are very few places that teach us coping skills.

Those are the ones we all need because regardless of family and friends there will be those times when we are alone in our crisis and we need to rely on our own coping skills.

We need some suggestions from some professional psychologists and social workers. I've spent time learning and practicing skills pertaining to coping with other issues in my life, but I haven't asked for any professional counsel on coping when there's no one around to help, like in the middle of the night. So many lessons we learn come with painful situations.

Sincerely, Sharlene


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