How do I know if I have finished the grieving?

Note:?below you will find a “real-life” email exchange that?be helpful to many, many of you.??The correspondence is exactly as it was sent and received.???

Hi dr’s gloria and heidi,

i’m?george?from new jersey and i listen to your radio show archives, i find them very interesting and helpful. i lost both parent’s almost 4 years ago, mom lost her fight to breast cancer in september 2003, and my dad died 25 days later in october 2003. it was obviously very devestating, and i was the one (out of 5 kids) who lived closest to my parents and was able to devote myself to them. i’m concerned that i never grieved. i didn’t cry when they died, i spoke strongly at their funerals, i haven’t had that all out, blow out type of breakdown, i have strong spiritual faith, and i felt worse as my mother was losing her fight with cancer than when she actually died. my dad had major depression an anger and abusiveness in his life, so when he died shortly after mom, i was relieved that his pain, though never understood by any of us, had ended as well. i handled their estates, their bills, sold their house and moved on with my own life. i miss them alot, i’m not married, but i still question if i really grieved over their loss, or if i’m supposed to, or if i’m fooling myself, i don’t know. i talked to someone at cancer care, i’ve never been to a bereavement session with others, nothing like that. i keep in close contact with my siblings, but i wonder if i really need to take a good look at myself. what do you think? your comments would be very much appreciated. thanks oh, i contacted compassionate friends and was told it’s only for those who’ve lost children. i don’t have any. George

Dear George:
First I just wanted to say that I am so sorry for the loss of both your parents.? It is never easy to lose your parents, no matter how old you are.? To lose both your parents in such a short time frame must have been very hard.? We will be expanding our show to include the death of ones parents and I think you will find our shows on May 24th and June 14th to be very relevant.? On June 14th we will have a guest on that will talk about losing both her parents, so I think you will be able to relate to this show.? As far as your own grief process goes, I would just say that everyone grieves at their own pace, in their own way, and in their own time frame.? I would suggest that you listen to our archived shows on “men and grief” b/c men do grieve differently then women.? I would also suggest that you listen to our show comparing grief and depression.? If after listening to those shows you feel like you have depression, I would suggest seeking counseling.? Cancer Care is a wonderful organization with many competent therapists.? However, after reading your e-mail it sounds like you are just concerened that your not grieving enough, and again I would say “everyone grieves differently.”? I am glad you find comfort in our shows and hope that they continue to help you.
All the best

Dr. Heidi
thanks very much dr heidi and thanks for your kind words of condolence. cancer care only offers bereavement groups up to 2 years after death so they couldn’t help me. but it’s ok, i have listened to most of your archived shows and i believe i did listen to men and grieving i really liked your show with eric hipple, as a man i’ve always put on a strong front , and i’m a natural leader so it’s like double duty. i will seek counseling if i think i need to and thanks again for your feedback, i listen to you and your mom’s show each week (well usually the next day because i listen to it at work) take care and thanks again…..george

Dear George:
Thanks for your e-mail.? It’s listeners like you that make my job so meaningful.? I didn’t know that cancer care only offered therapy up to 2 yrs. after the loss.?? I’m sorry to hear that.? On April 5th, we will have another show about men and grief.? Also in our archives I would recommend listening to 2 other shows that address how men grieve:
1) Nov. 2nd, 2006:? Bill Hancock
2)? April 13th, 2006:? Tom Golden
It sounds like your on the right track and grieving in your own way.
Take care,
Dr. Heidi
Dear George,
Heidi and I are glad that you find the show helpful.? We are also sorry to hear that you lost your mother and dad.? Four years seems to be a significant time for you.? We all grieve differently and we do not think you need a, “blow out type of breakdown”.? However it does concern us that your dad suffered from, “major depression”.? Single men, living alone, are at risk for depression.? It sounds like you have been highly responsible and that it is a good time, as you say, to take a “good look at myself”.? We feel that you owe it to yourself to take good care of yourself.? We are pleased that you reached out and contacted us as well as The Compassionate Friends.? While Friends specializes in dealing with the loss of children, grandchildren, and siblings there are many support groups for men and we recommend that you find one in your community.? The group you find may not specialize in loss but we find that loss is a major issue in many of the groups that we have run.? You say that you are a “spiritual person” so we suggest that you may also find a support group through your religious community. Keep us posted through the blog and let us know how things are going and keep listening.?

Dr’s Gloria & Heidi

The Open to Hope Community

More Articles Written by

The Open to Hope Community Leader is here to answer questions, provide support, and maintain a healthy, positive environment at opentohope.com. This is the next line.

1 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  • George says:

    Hi Drs Gloria and Heidi, thanks so much for being supportive and sharing your thoughts on my situation. i listened to your show today (from thursday 3/22) and found it intriguing. thank you for acknowledging my post too..the story of your guest on the show, margaret, is devastating, but out of all of it, comes hope, and it’s true. we have to accept what we can’t change, but by the same token, we sure can affect change if we can, and if we try. and what’s more important, is that our lives are our own, it’s so hard to accept that sometimes. i had to realize that too, but if we are to live, we have to realize that and figure out a way to move on with our lives after tragic losses. thanks again, your program is excellent and if you’d like me to share my story with you one day on your show, i’d be glad to, especially if it can help someone else. thanks again ladies, you are an inspiration to many….george