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Intensity of Grief

Healing the feelings of lose of a loved one is confusing and painful for most people. Unless you have had previous losses you may be surprised at the intensity of your pain when someone you love dies, especailly if you are living with the person a spouse or a child. It is different to lose a husband or wife that you love and are living with than a spouse you divorced years ago. It is different to lose a child who is at home and for whom you are responsible to teach and raise as opposed to a child who is grown up and has been living on his or her own for several years. Your child will always be your child no matter how old he or she is, but when they leave home and make a life of their own your responsibility changes. The death of someone you are living with is much more traumatic and the grieving process is prolonged as the habits of being in the same space must be broken and adjusted to.

Little things like where your loved one sat at the kitchen or dining room table, what side of the bed she slept on, preparing his favorite foods, shoes left out or not, wet towels on the bathroom floor, putting the top on the toothpaste tube are all constant reminders of your loss. Then there is the personal possessions issues to be deal with like clothes, nick-knacks, books, jewlery, maybe vehicles and furniture. Paying the last bills, letting old friends know stopping subscriptions etc.are more reminders of your loss. Special days like birthdays, anniversary, and holidays will be especially difficult the first year after the death.

You will reminesce and remember past celebrations making your pain worse. But after the day passes you will feel relief that you got through it. Next year will be easier and in time new memories will replace the old painful ones. The first year will be a time of emotional turmoil and change. Your emotions will be close to the surface and trying to control them is fruitless. Small unexpected things may trigger tears, like a similar voice or gesture, or body type.

Knowledge is empowering. It is important to know that this pain will not last forever, you will recover and go on with your life. The one you lost will always be a part of you and will live on in your memories and heart. And you are still alive and must and will go on with your life. And you will when you are ready.

Nancy O'Connor PhD is a psychologist and a specialist in Grief, Loss and Bereavement. She was the founder and Director of the Grief and Loss Center in Tucson, Arizona. She is the author of the best selling books including Letting Go With Love: The Grieving Process. A new revised and enlarged edition is available on her website . Also available is a new 2 CD set of ths book read by the author.

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