Spousal Loss: Spiritual and Physical Aspects of Loss

In this episode of The Grief Relief show, Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk with Reverend Robert Gieselmann as well as physical therapist Lyn Prashant about the physical symptoms of grief. Reverend Gieselmann has worked with numerous people who were surprised by the physical manifestation of grief after losing someone close to them. Prashant has taught yoga teachers as well as numerous non-yogis about the importance of physical and spiritual self-care when you lose someone. Many times, self-care goes out the window when you’re grieving, which can lead to a downward spiral for several years.

One of the things people miss most is holding hands according to Dr. Heidi Horsley. More than any other type of intimacy between two partners or spouses, that simple act is what hits hardest. For Reverend Gieselmann, losing his wife was one of the most difficult challenges he’s faced. He was only 43 years old when his wife, Laura, died unexpectedly. She had been sick, but wasn’t sick to the point of dying. She passed during a gallbladder surgery, which wasn’t a particularly risky surgery. “All of a sudden I was a single father,” he says.

The Challenges of a Spiritual Hit

Reverend Gieselmann had worked with those in grief for years, but now knows you don’t really understand it unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Prashant also lost her husband at a young age, too. She was 35 when he died. He had been diagnosed with cancer before, but the re-diagnosis was shocking. They had both been hopeful that he was in remission for good, and that diagnosis instantly changed their life and dreams.

Prashant and her husband were given a death timeline, which gave them time to prepare. They were given the gift of having professionals around them, but it opened up different and unique challenges along the way.

Lyn Prashant

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Lyn Prashant, PhD., FT., IGT., IGC, is the Founder and Training Director of the process called Degriefing®. Lyn is an internationally recognized professional grief counselor, engaging lecturer, published author, and therapeutic massage therapist/teacher specializing in transforming grief by using grief as “the most available untapped, emotional resource for personal transformation”. She teaches at the Mayo Clinic, U.C. Berkeley, California Pacific Medical Center; training health care professionals, hospice workers, hospital staffs, community leaders and it’s members. Lyn, fluent in Spanish, has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be reached at www.degriefing.com and 415.457.2272 Lyn presents this work internationally in honor of her late sister Donna and her late husband Mark. Lyn’s parents, Harriet and Nathan Smith, live in Boynton Beach, Florida, and a younger sibling, Karen Miro, and her two children live in South Salem, New York. To Listen to Lyn on Open to Hope Lyn was featured on the Open to Hope Foundation radio show program “Healing the Grieving Heart” on October 22, 2009. You can listen to her in the archives of this program at http://www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley102209.mp3 .

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