Tammy writes in with a question: My friend who is 52 is grieving over a baby she lost when she was 17. She has 2 other children, both adults now. But she is suddenly feeling this loss, feeling like she was supposed to have 3 children. Is it possible to grieve this far from the death?
Doris Jeanette, Psy.D., author of Opening the Heart, responds: It is not only possible, but helpful, to grieve any loss that has not been fully experienced. It does not matter how many years ago the original loss occurred. As a young mother, your friend may not have been able to fully grieve the loss. She may have blamed herself and as a result shut off her feelings and emotions. Now she may be ready to feel the loss and express her emotions. This is wonderful. You can be a helpful friend by supporting her in expressing her feelings and emotions in healthy ways. You can also encourage her to seek professional help, if needed. She will be a stronger and healthier person after she processes the loss of her child. Opening the heart is a life-long process and how it unfolds is how it unfolds. Honor her and her healing process.
Doris Jeanette, Psy.D., is author of Opening the Heart, an emotional guide into feelings and emotions.