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08:58 PM on 08/01/2012
I lost my oldest son four years ago and my youngest brother last March.Much against my will, I'm now somewhat of an expert on grief.
I can tell you that there is no comparison between the grief of losing a child and any other grief.The death of a child, even an adult child, is so overwhelmingly painful.
Unfortunately, I know exactly what my parents are going through.When my son died, I was in so much pain I couldn't understand how I woke up every morning still alive.
I still can't believe that I'm the parent of a dead child.
I belong to a support group and know that time heals somewhat.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:11 AM on 08/02/2012
True . . . death of a child (of whatever age) is quite unimaginable. A support group can be a wonderful safety net as you share with others who truly understand. Wishing you much peace, Ashley
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OriginalName
Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
03:53 AM on 08/03/2012
My parents lost a child, by brother. They never addressed their loss and now at a very old age they are still plagued with grief. Please, continue with your support group and any other source of help that you may find. Peace be with you.
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Rhonda Thissen
This space for rent.
06:32 AM on 08/06/2012
Love your micro-bio!!
07:04 PM on 08/01/2012
I lost my sister to cancer then my husband to suicide a year later. The bulk of this article would probably help most people. I'm still working on moving forward. I remember my sis n late husband by donating to their fav charities on their b-days. I've also learned to stick with family n friends who r supportive, grouned, n balanced. Another thing people should never say is: "You'll find another one." Most people know how wrong that is. But that's what my mother told me when I allowed her to talk to me after my husband died. (But then she also advertised on the Net for a new daughter within 8 weeks after my sis died -another story in itself.) Sometimes moving forward into a life that will never be the same again includes cutting ties to preserve ur mental health, too.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:13 AM on 08/02/2012
Oh my . . . so much loss. Yes, you want to be discerning about the people you spend time with and the energy you choose to be surrounded by. Donating to charities in their honor is a beautiful tradition. Wishing you peace as you move forward, Ashley
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themightyabealrd
screw the real world-I'm an artist!
06:17 PM on 08/01/2012
Very insightful. The myth that one 'recovers from' great loss is a damaging one & this article addresses that with the 'be your old self again' segment. One does not recover from life altering events, one adapts to the new reality that has arrived. And one does that by becoming a different person, because the person one was before has passed with the event.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:14 AM on 08/02/2012
One day at a time, learning to live with loss . . . peace, Ashley
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Walter Z
04:38 PM on 08/01/2012
Thanks for your compassionate insights. My dearest friend died some time ago, and I was beating myself up, because in addition to my intense grieving, I was, figuratively speaking, checking my watch every fifteen minutes, because I thought I was grieving wrong, and that it was taking too long. Finally, I mentioned my grief and impatience to an acquaintance, saying, "I'm afraid I'll never get over his death." And she said, quietly, "Maybe you won't". Odd as it may seem, this acknowledgement of the breadth of my loss was of great help to me, and I'm still grateful for it.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:16 AM on 08/02/2012
You were fortunate to have this acquaintance give you permission and normalize your experience. Too often people are made to feel pathological as they continue to live with loss. The goal is to integrate loss and love, synthesize your grief and your compassion . . . one day at a time. Peace, Ashley
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dpkjj
Peace on Earth
10:56 PM on 08/03/2012
I, too, lost a dear friend many years ago. I still think of her often and miss her. What usually happens it that, as time passes, the sharp pain goes away and we can smile at the memory of our dear one, even as we miss their presence.
04:14 PM on 08/01/2012
Grief only means love & love never dies. We want to share it, we want to give it. Healthy relationships are like gold. I'd just say try to remember the best of them & pass it on. There are other people who need love, the same kind of love you have for the one that is 'lost'. Dealing with what hardships life hands us is definitely not always easy & few of us get out clean.

Beliefs/Faith might help too. There are always 'good' things in the world to balance the 'bad' & that doesn't have to have anything to do with faith.

Best wishes in healthy healing to those in grief or mourning.
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Ashley Davis Bush
07:53 PM on 08/01/2012
Yes, indeed. Thank you for sharing your wise insights. Wishing you peace, Ashley
04:06 PM on 08/01/2012
This is excellent advice. This can be applied to any kind of 'grieving' or 'mourning'. Relationships, death, life changes, etc.

"Get over it" was the first thing I thought of before I even saw the headline. It is so impatient & lacking in compassion.

Kudos!
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:18 AM on 08/02/2012
Good point -- we are certainly surrounded by all kinds of losses in addition to death : illness, divorce, job loss, moving, aging, etc. Understanding that change and impermanence are part of the human condition helps us direct compassion to the process. Peace, Ashley
03:59 PM on 08/01/2012
I would also add that the _time_ involved in grieving is unique to each griever; oftentimes, well-meaning friends and family will hand a grieving person materials and resources that detail 'periods' of grief - for example, the first year after a loved one has died. Well, it's been over _three years_ since my husband died, and true, the loss feels different now than it did three years ago - but I miss him each and every day of my life, and I expect that I always will. I am _not_ the same person as I was and I do not view life the same way as I did. I suspect this is true for many others who walk with a piece of themselves that is missing...
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:19 AM on 08/02/2012
Absolutely -- no timeline. Wishing you peace as you live with your loss. His love for you -- and you for him -- will always be a part of you. Ashley
12:14 PM on 08/01/2012
The first part makes sense. But HOW do you move forward, stay connected in love, etc.? It's not enough to say that grievers need to do it. And it's very, very, very difficult. Never seeing your loved one again (especially if it's your child) is agonizing.

http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss
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Ashley Davis Bush
07:54 PM on 08/01/2012
You are absolutely right. Losing a child is beyond agonizing. The moving forward and staying connected in love is very much a process. Wishing you peace on the journey, Ashley
11:36 AM on 08/01/2012
Thank you for this article. I know people are trying to comfort when they make comments. Yet sometimes those comments just make the pain that much worse.

24 years ago, I gave birth to premature identical twins. One of our girls survived, the other passed away at 4 weeks of age. We have four other children, so life went on. However, that doesn't stop a sudden pang when all of our children are together and I know one is missing. I look at our surviving twin and know what our other child would look like and I miss her.

Friends have told me, that we are blessed, and I know we are. However, the fact that we have 5 healthy adult children does not diminish her loss. That she died before we "got to know her" doesn't take the pain away. I know these comments are made with the best of intentions.

Grief is a slow, aching process. Months and sometimes years go by, and the pain seems to be far away. Then suddenly an innocent moment, an adult child asking if you will give them a copy of their baby book, brings it all crashing in again. You cry some, you hurt again, you wonder how life would be different if she had survived and you work through it.
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Ashley Davis Bush
07:55 PM on 08/01/2012
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I know that you always hold that dear child close to your heart. Wishing you peace, Ashley
11:26 AM on 08/01/2012
The only bit I disagree with, s that grief has no closure. Sure it hasn't for many, but I don't believe I am still grieving. I *do* feel deep sadness on occasion, for short periods, I will always love him and am deeply sad about what happened. However, maybe this is just my perception? I don't believe that 'letting go of the grief' is the same as letting go of the love. I will never stop loving or forget him. xx
02:35 PM on 08/01/2012
Then you must not have lost a child Fiona...There is no closure...
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Claude Hosch
A single bracelet does not jingle
02:51 PM on 08/01/2012
I tend to agree with you; we grieve because we love and can't just turn love off. Losing a loved one is a major, physical paradigm shift; the love you hold dear is emotional, and the memory of that love should pay tribute to it. Back to the paradigm shift: many facets of the void created must be adjusted to, in one's own way, and that will take time.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:20 AM on 08/02/2012
Yes, beautifully stated. Peace, Ashley
11:16 AM on 08/01/2012
We all experience loss, sadly some suffer earlier in life while others make it closer to the finish line before experiencing it. I had to get over my self pity and stop feeling like I was being punished. Loss revealed to me how naive and fortunate I had been. I have been kinder to myself and others in my altered self. I've also appreciated humor more. Life is precious and there are no guarentees.
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Ashley Davis Bush
07:57 PM on 08/01/2012
Sounds like you have learned many lessons from loss. Indeed life is very precious. I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Peace, Ashley
10:28 AM on 08/01/2012
I lost my mom 16 years ago and my dad 5 years ago, i'm only 30. There are days where I am perfectly "fine" and days where I miss them so much it's quite debilitating. Some people understand, but most don't. Losing a loved one NEVER gets easier, if anything as I have gotten older and passed milestones, (graduating, getting married, having my son, etc) it gets harder. Not having them here with me in these special moments is very difficult. I don't tell people who have lost a loved one, that it'll get easier, cause it doesn't. And being someone who has gone through the loss, the expect to hear real advice from you. Not feel good nonsense.
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Ashley Davis Bush
07:59 PM on 08/01/2012
I am sorry to hear of your profound losses. Part of your job as a mom will be to let your child know about your terrific parents. I hope for you that their love will live on through you, inspiring you and giving you strength. Peace, Ashley
11:58 AM on 08/02/2012
Thank you for the kind words Ashley. I do my best! 
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Robert D. Stolorow
Founding Faculty Member, Institute of Contemporary
10:22 AM on 08/01/2012
This post is spot-on! I have made some similar points in my blob post, "Trauma and the Hourglass of time": http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-relating-existing/201110/trauma-and-the-hourglass-time
10:13 AM on 08/01/2012
The first half of this advice ("what grievers cannot do") is great. The second half is ("what grievers can do") is useless if you are a freethinker who doesn't buy into unsupported religious/antiscientific teachings about the "heart" (not the organ) and the "spirit." I'm an experienced griever and know a lot of other experienced grievers. My advice is much simpler: what you can do is WAIT. Eventually the bag of meat you will become is someone who doesn't hurt as much from the loss experienced by the bag of meat you used to be. Of course, we should all know better than to expect to be told that grieving takes time by someone who wrote a book called "Shortcuts to Inner Peace." Sorry folks, there are no shortcuts.
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fumes
Old black water, keep on rollin'
11:17 AM on 08/01/2012
buy my book!

lol..

she was pretty transparent wasn't she...
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:00 PM on 08/01/2012
Wishing you peace on the painful journey of loss, Ashley
09:37 AM on 08/01/2012
This is a nicely written article and I know the author means well, but speaking as a survivor of my best friend who died back in April, it still does not address my core questions which continually nag me. And it seems that no one is willing or able to address these with me, even though I am told constantly to "keep reaching out" to people. Those questions are "Where is my friend right now?" and "Is she alright?" And I don't want to hear any gobbledygook about heaven or hell or mythology or fairy tales. I want to know where, really. If anyone has any input on this, feel free to respond. Thanks.
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MassWG
01:42 PM on 08/01/2012
(cont.)

At this very moment, as my kids are traveling, I don't know for sure if THEY are alright, or exactly where they are. I am going to assume they are having a safe and enjoyable journey. I am going to assume the same about my father, because I have no way of knowing one way or the other. In the absence of knowledge, I have the choice of faith or of doubt. That's not to say that even if I choose faith that I won't sometime be plagued with doubt. But if I choose doubt, I will ALWAYS be plagued with doubt.

So while I don't really know where my parents are and if they're alright, I know that at least some part of their essence exists in the minds and and memories of all those who knew them, and that all the places where they ever lived and worked and played have somehow incorporated my parents as an immutable part of the history of those places. Wherever my folks are, I'm sad they're gone but happy to have the record of where they've been.

Don't know if that helps you at all, but it helped me to write it, so thanks for the invitation to respond.
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MassWG
01:46 PM on 08/01/2012
Part 1

I recently lost my father, and years ago my mother. Since I lived many hours away, I saw them only a few times a year. It may sound trite but their presence in my mind (which still exists) is only changed by the (painful) awareness that I will never see them again. So depending on the level of that awareness, at any given moment my relationship to them now can be very similar to the relationship I had when they were still alive.

Being in their physical presence, which only occasionally happened, was not (and is not) required to feel emotions or think thoughts or recall memories. What is obviously missing, and still causes pain, is the knowledge that any future contact of the type we enjoyed is impossible. Though events of the past have now reached their finite limit, there are no limits to thoughts and emotions relating to my parents. So the internal relationship with them is still alive even though they are not.

If I was to ask "Where is my father right now?" and "Is he alright?", those questions are really no different than what I might have thought at times when I called his house and got no answer. On occasion, I might worry that he was not alright. More often I would assume, of course he's alright - why wouldn't he be? But I had no way at that moment of knowing whether he was alright.
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Ashley Davis Bush
08:03 PM on 08/01/2012
Thanks to all of you for this thoughtful discussion. Mystery pervades, since of course none of us can know exactly what happens after this lifetime. However, it is clear that love itself endures. Wishing you all peace on this journey called life and death, Ashley
09:15 PM on 08/01/2012
It is completely different if people are alive or dead. When my mother died she was in her 80's and had lived a very full and emotionally rich life. I have missed her every day since she died, but I never felt that she had been cheated. My father died when I was only 22 (in his early 50's) and I felt he had missed out on a part of his life that he would have loved: having grandchildren. My children also missed having their grandfather. But losing my son isn't like pretending that he's traveling in a distant land. He was robbed of his life: the opportunities to find love, reach for his dreams, enjoy the simple everyday pleasures, travel, explore, write, play music, etc. My family has suffered a huge loss - we have lost our pride and joy....there will be no grandchildren, no cousins for my daughter's future children....
It's completely different when someone passes away...