By Sandra Pesmen —

If you want to celebrate any holiday, especially Father’s Day, you have to learn to deal with anger and guilt.

Whether we widows admit it or not, when our spouse dies, most of us feel guilty because we survived. We fear we may not have been as kind as we could have been all the time. We feel guilty because we didn’t prepare his favorite dinner more often. We feel guilty because we made him see movies (and people) he didn’t like.

There are endless “guilts,” says therapist Judy Berg, of Highalnd Park, Ill., who spoke at our last Northbrook Seniors’ Widows meeting. Until we adrress those guilts, acknowledge them, and throw them away, we will have no peace, she added.

Judy also discussed the several stages of grief we go through, whether we realize it or no. They are: shock, denial, anger, guilt, acknowledgment and acceptance. “Even if death comes after long illness, it’s still a shock,” she said. “And everyone goes through these stages in their own time. Some recover in a few months. Others are still grieving five years later, and often that’s because they didn’t get over their anger.”

Anger’s the most difficult stage, she says. We are angry that our beloved spouse left us. In our minds, he was supposed to always be there giving us love, support and companionship. (Not to mention killing spiders, changing washers in the faucets, and sweeping the garage.)

In honor of this Father’s Day holiday, after the family drops by for brunch, I plan to do some of the chores my husband so enjoyed. I will sweep that garage, and take his dog Bolder The Wonder Lab out into the yard to tend to his garden. Then Bolder and I will sit on the patio–and remember our best friend who’s no longer with us.

That seems like a fitting Dad’s day. What will you do?

Sandra Pesmen is host of

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Sandra Pesmen

Sandra Pesmen, host of, also writes the weekly DR.JOB column syndicated by Career News Service. A member of The Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and The University of Illinois Media Alumni Hall of Fame, Ms. Pesmen is author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide,“ and “Writing for the Media: Public Relations and the Press.” A reporter, features writer and editor, this business journalist was features editor of Crain’s Chicago Business from its inception in 1978 to 1990, when she became corporate features editor for its parent, Crain Communications Inc. She also wrote the monthly Executive Woman column in North Shore magazine in suburban Chicago for many years. Previously, she was a reporter and features writer for the Chicago Daily News.

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